Generations of British children got their first psychedelic technicolour shopping experience inside one of F.W.Woolworth's art-deco emporia. Amid the scent of castor sugar and salted peanuts, many got their first warm hit of consumerism. Generations of spotty saturday teenagers grunted their way through their duties there to subsidise their night on the lash . Their unemployed friends would come in to gloat and browse and shoplift and get some more giggling photos done in the booth.
So many people have deep attachment to the name. It reminds them of their childhood, there are vague architectural associations with that other art-deco haven of youth, The Odeon, where, amid the unique scent of popcorn, Silk Cut and fish, generations of Britons discovered sex.
These memories have helped lull the British, at least, into a sense that Woolworths was more a maternal national institution than a business. Something the rates paid for, or the National Trust. And now it's to vanish from British high streets. A victim of the notion that as long as rubbish is cheap enough, someone will buy it.
This must be what a recession feels like. It will for the 30,000 or so who lose their jobs.