Player's Past

Player's Past Blog

John Player now on Nottinghamshire Heritage Gateway

John Player Now On Nottinghamshire Heritage Gateway

Our pathway for John Player & Sons has now been uploaded onto the Nottinghamshire Heritage Gateway website.  It contains a brief history of the John Player firm from 1877 to the present.  There is also information about the collection itself including images of counter cards and photographs of working life there.  This information is accompanied by details about important sources that are useful in studying more about the tobacco industry.   

Click on this link to view the research pathway;


Country Life

Country Life

As feedback from the Strategic Tobacco Control Group urged us to focus more on the older, hand-drawn, showcards, these are two very good examples of the older showcards that we have in the archive.  The ‘Country Life’ series started in the early 1900s and ended around the 1930s, it was a brand for cigarettes and tobacco mixture.  Local artists such as Tom Browne were commssioned to paint a landscape or a scene based in rural settings.  This first showcard was sketched by Browne in 1907 and it appeared on this ’Country Life’ showcard in 1908;  

Another ‘Country Life’ showcard was sketched and painted by C. Clark in 1923.  This scene is very masculine, with crowds of men watching two fight in the centre;


These to sketches in the showcards are very different from each other and they invoke different thoughts and emotions in the viewer.  Even though they are all centred around the theme of rural life in the first half of the 20th century, it is difficult to identify the ‘Country Life’ brand with a particular social group.  But that is what will make the exhibition so fascinating!


Ask the Experts

I had a really interesting meeting yesterday, with Kate and Indu from the city’s Strategic Tobacco Control Group.  I asked them to come and have a look at some of our material and advise on how best to go about displaying the adverts, without them being seen as an advert for cigarettes by gallery visitors.  A true challenge, I’m sure you’ll all agree.

Not surprisingly they were wary about being seen as supporting any  such display, but they were really friendly and practical in their support.  They understand the need to tell the story of this important firm and how vital it once was to Nottingham, but are keen for us to make careful selections and not send out the wrong type of message.

So the more historic the better, which fits with the remit of seeing adverts as art.  The hand drawn adverts really ended in the 1960s, so hopefully by not showing anything less than 40 years old people will be able to view them in a historic context.  The finished result will require a very delicate balancing act – hopefully one that will educate and not offend.


About this Sponsor

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