The Penzance store served generations of customers from the same location and, walking up into town, I had often glanced over at the marvellous illuminated back-lit neon sign glowing out across Market Jew Street at night.
Most Woolworth’s branches replaced the neon with white plastic during a tweak of the fascias in the early 90s, but I guess because PZ is at the end of the line, somehow this one escaped.
Soon after the decision to close all branches, I mentioned to Emily that the sign should be saved for posterity. Some months later she approached the workmen transforming the store into ‘Poundland’, and did a deal on the spot, buying the sign for me as a surprise gift. Naturally, I was more than thrilled but became somewhat embarrassed when called out to the ‘site’ to collect them on a particularly busy Saturday in August. As his mate unscrewed them one by one from the building, the foreman helped me load each letter into the back of the car.
I got some fairly strange looks and more than a few admiring comments; a few people quipped ‘You’ll get a bomb for those on Ebay, mate’. Well, I’m pleased to report they won’t be sold but will grace the studio. Now all I need is to get them wired up and the neon will glow crimson once more.