In the world of my novels, for instance, we never visit England because it is part of a fascist European Federation whose borders the heroine is not allowed to cross; in my alternate England, moreover, there is certainly no longer any such thing as Woolworth's. Frisch on working conditions in the 1930s at Birkbeck College:
Of course I had been spoiled at Stern's institute where two first-rate mechanics and a good glass-blower were at our disposal, as well as a supply of up-to-date instruments and materials. I remember writing home from England that to build equipment was so much patchwork and make-do that after a few weeks of it my imagination boggled at the thought of asking for a piece of rubber tube 18 inches long! What saved me was the existence of Woolworth's. In those days no item cost more than sixpence. Admittedly a pair of socks cost a shilling; but Houtermans once insisted on buying one sock, explaining that it was a present for somebody who had only one leg. One could buy almost anything there. Once I bought a piece of ladies' black underwear; it was the easiest way of getting hold of some smooth black fabric for lining my cloud chamber. I didn't have the courage to charge the laboratory for that particular purchase.A novel set and published in the late 1940s that includes a good description of what can be bought at Woolworth's: Josephine Tey's Brat Farrar!