THE news of a new charity shop opening in Hexham has brought with it discussions around the future of the high street.

While we all can agree charity shops, obviously, benefit worthy causes, many feel they're not the sort of shop the town needs more of.

Animal charity Oak Tree has opened in the former Edinburgh Woollen Mill store on Market Street.

The site had been empty since 2020 when Edinburgh Wollen Mill closed during lockdown.

We've dived into our archives to take a look at some of the popular shops and attractions to have, sadly, left the town centre.

Tynedale Park, or Tynedale Retail Park as it was later known, once occupied the Tesco site.

The sister-store to Robbs, the unique and esoteric department store pulled people in from across the North-East to sample its multiple delights, from a new kitchen or a five-litre can of paint, to a bag of nails and a fortnight in Fuerteventura.

Owners Merchant Retail sold the premises to supermarket giant Tesco in 2005.

Woolworths – or Woolies as it was affectionately known – was one of the biggest of the many casualties of the 2008 financial crash but, for decades before that, it was a familiar name on high streets across the country.

Hexham was no exception and generations of youngsters will have flocked to the Fore Street store after school for a Pick and Mix.

In April 2019, Beales announced it would be closing its Hexham store, giving way to the Yorkshire Trading Co, with boss Tony Brown citing poor trading and high business rates.

Beales, formerly known as Robbs and renamed Hexham Outlet Centre, had a history in the town spanning more than 200 years.

At its peak, Robbs became so popular that another store was built at Alemouth Road, which began trading as Tynedale Park in 1989.

It was 1818 when William Robb opened the first Robbs shop in Hexham. It moved to the west side of Fore Street in 1890, and to the former site in 1928.

Beales secured a £250,000 deal to buy out Robbs in 2010.

And if walls could talk! Dontino's night club, later known as Studio, couldn't not get a mention for its sticky floors and party atmosphere music.

Once a luxury nightclub, generations of residents made the pilgrimage to Donnies to see their night off.