Norwich nostalgia: How shops have changed in the city through the years

Before it was John Lewis, Bonds department store had been a Norwich institution for more than 100 years. 

Before it was John Lewis, Bonds department store had been a Norwich institution for more than 100 years. - Credit: Archant/Canva

From Woolworths and Wimpy to Norwich’s answer to Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory, many businesses have come and gone throughout the years. 

Here are photos looking back at how the city has changed through the decades.  

Woolworths, St Stephens Street & Big W, Riverside Development 

Woolworths formerly on St Stephens Street is now occupied by Sainsburys. 

Woolworths formerly on St Stephens Street is now occupied by Sainsburys. - Credit: Archant/Canva

Big W, formerly on Norwich's Riverside Development, is now occupied by the clothes retailer Matalan.  

Big W, formerly on Norwich's Riverside Development, is now occupied by the clothes retailer Matalan. - Credit: Archant/Canva

Over the years Woolworths had several stores across Norwich, including a branch at St Stephens Street in the 1990s and later a Big W store at Riverside Retail Park.  

However, the company went bust in 2008 which resulted in the closure of all stores between late 2008 and 2009. 

Big W, formerly on the Riverside Development, is now occupied by Matalan.  

Woolworths formerly on St Stephens is now a Sainsbury's store.

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McDonald’s, Westlegate Tower 

The ground floor of Westlegate House in the city centre used to be home to McDonald's which closed in 2006

The ground floor of Westlegate House in the city centre used to be home to McDonald's which closed in 2006. Today the building has been converted into luxury apartments and commercial units - currently occupied by Evans Cycles. - Credit: Archant/Canva

It was a McDonald's site known by many city-goers in the 1990s. 

The ground floor of Westlegate House in the city centre used to be home to the fast-food restaurant which closed in 2006.  

Today the building has been converted into luxury apartments and commercial units - currently occupied by Evans Cycles. 

Anglia Square

Anglia Square is a shopping centre which was built in the early 1970s.

Anglia Square is a shopping centre which was built in the early 1970s. The area is now set for significant redevelopment. - Credit: Archant/Canva

Anglia Square is a shopping centre which was built in the early 1970s. 

It has been home to an array of retailers over the years as well as the former Odeon cinema and it was even a hotspot for clubbers in the 90s. 

The site continues to be home to businesses such as Boots, Greggs and Iceland. 

But after failed attempts to regenerate the area, Anglia Square is now set for significant redevelopment

Bonds of Norwich, All Saints Green 

Before it was John Lewis, Bonds department store had been a Norwich institution for more than 100 years. 

Before it was John Lewis, Bonds department store had been a Norwich institution for more than 100 years. - Credit: Archant/Canva

Before it was John Lewis, Bonds department store had been a Norwich institution for more than 100 years. 

The business was founded by Robert Herne Bond as a small drapers shop in Ber Street in 1879. 

Its original site was bombed during the Second World War but the store was rebuilt in 1951 by a descendant of Robert Bond. 

In 1982 John Lewis bought the business from the Bond family and started trading as a branch of the John Lewis Partnership.

The store was known as Bonds until 2001 when it was rebranded as John Lewis Norwich.

Caley’s Chocolate Factory, St Stephens Street 

Chantry Place is Norwich’s biggest shopping mall but before it was built this site was home to Caley’s chocolate factory

Chantry Place is Norwich’s biggest shopping mall but before it was built this site was home to Caley’s chocolate factory on St Stephens Street. - Credit: Chantry Place/Archant/Canva

Chantry Place is Norwich’s biggest shopping centre but before it was built this site was home to Caley’s chocolate factory - originally owned by Albert Jarman Caley. 

Mr Caley first started selling chocolate from his factory in Chapel Field East in 1886. The business was taken over by John Mackintos in 1932, it then became Mackintosh and Rowntree in 1969.

It was taken over by Nestle in 1998. 

The site was best known for producing the Rolo chocolates before closing in 1996. 

Before the shopping centre could be built, the chocolate factory was demolished. 

Wimpy, The Queens Road

There used to be several Wimpys in Norwich, including one on Queen's Road, which opened in 1965

There used to be several Wimpy restaurants in Norwich, including one in Queens Road. That building is now home to a charity shop. - Credit: Archant/Canva

In the early 1970s, a cheeseburger from Wimpy would have cost you just 42p.

There were several Wimpy branches in Norwich including one in Queens Road, which opened in 1965, one in St Stephens Street and another in Anglia Square. 

Today the fast food brand has closed most of its branches in our area, with just one in King's Lynn remaining. 

The Queens Road site is now occupied by a charity shop. 

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