It’s been a drastic few years for the British high street.

What were once household names, a string of well known chain stores and restaurants have vanished, with the trend seeming to accelerate since the financial crash of 2008.

Consumer habits have changed, and with increasing trend to buy online, the ever-tightening squeeze on disposable income, footfall decreasing and spending power has steadily taken a nosedive.

We are taking a look back at some of the big brands that were once fixtures of the high street, but have disappeared from our region - and beyond.

How many do you remember? And if you think of any others please let us know in the comments.

Eighties kids went to...


Few shops are seared into the memory as clearly as Woolworths.

For many of us, childhood trips to Woolies were the pinnacle of any weekend.

Your Local Guardian: A former Woolworths store. Photo: Barry Batchelor/PA

Where else could you eat so many sweets from the pick 'n' mix that you felt sick, whilst also picking up some cool new toys or bits of stationary?Not forgetting the Ladybird clothing range and of course, the singles cassette chart.


Unfortunately, MFI doesn't have as many positive connotations as Woolworths.

MFI was the shop parents dragged their kids to, kicking and screaming, whenever a new sofa or bed was needed.

Your Local Guardian: Furniture store MFI. Photo: Gareth Fuller/PA

Hardly the most thrilling Saturday outing, although you could run around the huge store playing hide and seek.

Nineties kids will also undoubtedly remember being promised a trip to McDonald's in exchange for good behaviour in MFI.


BHS wasn't exactly at its peak during the 80s, because it was pretty prominent right until the bitter end.

But, from the 80s right through to the noughties, BHS was your one-stop shop for basically everything, from clothes and bedding to lighting and a cup of tea with your gran.

Your Local Guardian: A branch of BHS after it closed for the last time. Photo: John Stillwell/PA

Unfortunately, a nostalgic look back at BHS tends to be marred by its demise, when it went into administration with huge debts and layoffs.


Nowadays, you'll only see a Dixons branch if you're in the airport, but remember when it was a staple on every high street?

Your Local Guardian: Electronics store Dixons. Photo: Ian West/PA

Dixons was everyone's go-to store for anything electrical, and it was a sad day in 2006 when it decided to take its business online.

However, most of the physical shops did remain, rebranded as part of the Currys chain.

Nineties kids went to...

Past Times

Few shops were as full of stuff as Past Times.

It was a veritable treasure trove for things you totally didn't want or need, but bought anyway. It was the perfect place to buy presents for anyone, whether it was your mum, mate or grandpa.

Chances are, anything you bought went straight to the charity shop, but we were still sad when Past Times entered administration in 2012.


The demise of video stores like Blockbuster was inevitable, thanks to the likes of Netflix and TV on demand.

However, this doesn't make us any less misty-eyed to realise they no longer take pride of place on our UK high streets.

Your Local Guardian: A closed Blockbuster store. Photo: Tim Ireland/PA

Who among us hasn't spent a good few hours on a Saturday afternoon, picking the perfect movies to watch at a sleepover that night?

Now that's an experience you can't get on the internet.

One thing we don't miss though is all the fines we got for inevitably returning the videos late. Oh, and having to rewind the tapes!


Back in the day, department store Allders competed with the likes of Debenhams. It holds a particularly dear place in the hearts of anyone from Croydon - when Allders expanded there in the 1970s it became the third biggest department store in the UK after Harrods and Selfridges.

Your Local Guardian: The Allders store

Allders was particularly successful in the 90s, after buying several department stores from the Owen Owen group.

Noughties kids went to...

Phones 4u

Phones 4u arguably had one of the most successful advertising campaigns of recent years. Sure, it might sound like we're exaggerating just a bit, but how much time did you spend trying to make the 'Phones 4 U' motions with your hands?

These ads were popular in the noughties, but sadly Phones 4u is now no more, entering administration in 2014.

JJB Sports

If you wanted a new pair of kicks or the latest football shirt, where would you go during the noughties? JJB Sports, of course.

It had everything you could want for your sporting needs - even if you weren't sporty at all, and just wanted a cool pair of trackies to wear.

We're not sure where kids go to hang out now, since JJB Sports went into administration in 2012.


With VHS stores slowly dying out, bookstores were next.

This was largely down to the double-pronged attack of internet giants delivering cheap books straight to your door, and the invention of the Kindle.

Your Local Guardian: A branch of Borders bookstore when it was closing down. Photo: Katie Collins/PA.

For many angsty teenagers who sought solace in the Borders cafe, this was a sad phenomenon indeed.

Many of us are still holding a candle for Borders by refusing to relinquish our hard copies - however, we have had to find new places to buy them.


If you were still living at home during the noughties, you undoubtedly had a weekend trip to Comet with your parents.

There you were made to look through aisles and aisles of electricals.

It wasn't particularly thrilling stuff, although Comet's slogan of 'We live electricals' has somehow managed to stick with us, even if the shop itself is no more.

  • Did we miss any? Let us know in the comments