Player's Past

Player's Past Blog

Images and Artwork

Images and Artwork

Last week I went through all the photographs of the factories and offices of Player’s to look at how it was and how it has changed.  The main area on Radford Boulevard consisted of the Head Office, and factories 1, 2, 3 and 4.  The Head Office building is still intact and even the ‘JP’ door handles have not been changed.  The building itself is now Victoria College.  Across the road, Factories 2, 3 and 4 were closed in the 1980s, then demolished, a retail park now stands in their place.  Although, the railings are still there.  These photographs have been uploaded onto with full descriptions of what and where they are. 

I have also been searching for photographs in the collection that can be shown in the short film.  Images like buildings and machinery as well as images that compare the old and new.  However, we have more older photographs than recent ones so this can be difficult.

The design and artwork at Player’s is also being sorted through.  The artwork is currently held at Gresham Stores and is being sorted into groups according to brand and events.  There is a lot to get through but we and the volunteers are working together to be as efficient as we can.


Interview with Prof. Chris Wrigley

Interview with Prof. Chris Wrigley

Today was the filming session we had with Chris Wrigley, Professor of Modern British History at the University of Nottingham.  Filming took place in his office at the School of History, the environment and back drop were just right as Chris had a large bookshelf he stood in front of.  He answered questions relating to the importance of Player’s as an employer in Nottingham, why oral history is such an important way of documenting the experience of working at Player’s, why the project is unique and why it is important to academics. 

Chris spoke of the rising employment in Nottingham thanks to John Player that grew and grew to 9000 and more.  It was a major competitor with Raleigh and Boots and therefore highly significant in the working life of many living in Nottingham.  Chris evaluated several interesting points about oral history, arguing that this recording method tells a lot about how people feel about their working lives and the employers they had etc, which history books may not be able to express in the same way.  There is a limitation concerning memory because it can be unreliable and subject to bias, but overall oral history is an invaluable way of really connecting with the past, by encouraging people to talk about it. 

Chris highlighted the point that all archive collections are important to academics.  However, archives concerning business history are the hardest to look into because there is less information about them compared to a subject like political history.

Overall Chris gave a very good interview and provided us with a great deal of information that we can use in the film.  Thank you very much to him, we appreciate all his help.


John Player’s factory machinery

John Player’s Factory Machinery

Last week proved to be highly informative and useful in determining the meaning of many of the images in the John Player factories.  Two of our Player’s Past group, Malcolm Freeman and Dave Kirke, went up to the library and looked at several photographs of different kinds of machines.  These photographs were terribly difficult to describe by us because we did not know how the machines worked and what their purpose was in many cases. 

Malcolm and Dave talked through what the various machines did, how they were operated, what they were called and also what factories they were photographed in.  They described cigarette packing machines, parcelling machines, Tipping units, Rumblers and weighers.  The notes we made were then added to our database.  I would like to say another thank you to Malc and Dave as they really helped us out with understanding the material we had.  I do feel more confident in identifying other images of Player’s machines now that their knowledge has passed to us.


About this Sponsor

The Museum of Nottingham Life at Brewhouse Yard is part of Nottingham City Museums and Galleries.