The Woolwich is a trademark of the British bank Barclays. The 'Woolwich' was originally the Woolwich Building Society before it demutualised and became a public limited company in 1997. The company was listed on the London Stock Exchange and was once a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index but was acquired by Barclays in 2000.
The Woolwich was founded in 1847 as one of the first 'permanent' building societies. It was headquartered at 113 Powis Street, Woolwich until 1935 when it moved to larger premises at Eakes Place, Woolwich.
The Woolwich was one of the largest UK building societies, and was famous in the 1980s for its entertaining TV advertising incorporating the slogan “I’m with the Woolwich”.
From 1984 to 1992, The Woolwich sponsored Charlton Athletic F.C. during a time which included their departure from the outdated Valley stadium in September 1985 (they returned in December 1992, by which time the stadium had been rebuilt) and their promotion to the Football League First Division the following May, continuing for two years after their relegation in 1990.
The Woolwich Equitable Building Society demutualised in 1997, giving up its mutual status to become a bank: Woolwich PLC was formed, giving shares to investing and borrowing members of the society, and listing on the London Stock Exchange.
In August 2000, Barclays took over Woolwich PLC in a £5.4bn acquisition. Woolwich PLC thus joined the Barclays Bank Group of companies. The Woolwich brand-name was retained after the acquisition, and the Woolwich head office remained in Bexleyheath, south-east London, 4.5 miles from the original office in Woolwich.
On 28 June 2006, Barclays announced that The Woolwich was to become the Barclays UK mortgage brand, supported by Barclays branches, and that Woolwich branches would be either closed or re-branded as Barclays. The Bexleyheath head office closed in 2006. Associated changes to call centres affected up to 1,200 jobs, mostly at The Woolwich contact centre in Clacton-on-Sea which closed at the end of 2007. Woolwich accounts were migrated to Barclays during the first half of 2007.