Speaker: John Hopwood on The History of Woolworths at the General Meeting on September 20th.
Frank Winfield Woolworth was the son of a farmer recently returned from the American Civil War and in 1879 at the age of twenty-one he founded the 5 & 10 cents stores which, according to the Guinness Book of Records, became the largest department store chain in the world with more than 4000 almost identical stores located in many countries.
With the profits he built the Woolworth Building in 1912, the tallest “skyscraper” in the world for more than eighteen years and still the 28th tallest in New York, and he paid for the entire cost of the construction – in cash!
It is also the story of members of the Woolworth family, who inherited enormous wealth, and their amazing lifestyles and profligate spending. You would have to win the biggest ever Euro-millions lottery prize (€190 million) at least ten times to compare with what they had. They did not spend it wisely!
So, a mixture of great enterprise and endeavour followed by sex, drugs and the most extraordinary spending on lavish houses, amazing jewellery, fast cars and some very poor choices of husbands! John will illustrate his talk with many extraordinary photographs from the past.