Player's Past

Player's Past Blog

Selection Time

Over the last week or so I’ve begun to start work on the exhibition of showcards that will go on display at Nottingham Castle in July.  It’s a really interesting challenge, as I start to think about which adverts to include and how to make sure we don’t look like we are promoting smoking.

This image is amongst my favourites

It’s a Player’s Weights advert from 1939 and is part of a whole campaign that features circus performers and lanterns.  I like this series as it is so different from what you expect a cigarette advert to be and it makes me wonder who exactly these adverts were aimed at.  Later on the Weights brand used a lot of adverts with jockeys in them - so did it change from being a female to a male focused product?

There are clear changes in approaches from one decade to the next and this is something we hope will generate interest and debate.  Any comments about the types of campaigns people would like to see are very welcome.


Player’s Past for Light Night 2011

Player’s Past for Nottingham Light Night 2011

There is going to be a Player’s Past event for Light Night next year!  Our film will be shown and some objects from the archive will be on display.  It will be a wonderful opportunity for a small selection of the public to see a little part of the collection just before the exhibition in March.  All details of the event will be in the Light Night brochure. 


Player’s Past on YouTube!

Player’s Past on YouTube!

Our film has now been uploaded onto YouTube.  Due to the time restrictions on media uploaded onto YouTube, we’ve divided our film into 3 parts.  If you click on the following link, you will be able to view part 1.  Parts 2 and 3 will appear in the list of related films on the right hand side of the screen, so that when you have finished watching part 1, just click on ‘Player’s Past part 2′, and then  ’Player’s Past part 3′ to carry on watching the rest of the film.  Please enjoy, all comments would be greatly appreciated.

Player’s Past Event

Player’s Past Event

Thank you to everyone who came to our Player’s Past film screening last week! It was a thoroughly enjoyable morning and it was really good to see the film with everyone involved! Here are some of the images taken on the day;

Dr Wendy Freer was chosen to speak about the MuBu Project at Ashby Museum; Ashby 2010 Film for the Future. She is working on this exciting project with Mary Barker who is seated on the aisle seat on the front row.

Bottom left and bottom right, Carol and David Dowsing, top left and top right Nigel and Pat Booth

Clockwise from left, David Fewkes, Graham Johnson, Anne Jackson; participants who contributed to the film

Clockwise from left, Phil Bradley, Graham Hall, Les Revill, Paul Bloomer; Participants involved in the oral history recording for the project completed earlier this year.

Some of the objects from the collection that we had on display at the event.


Player’s Past Film Screening

We had a fabulous turn out on Tuesday, with over 40 people present for the first official screening of our documentry on John Players.  We were joined by people working on other MuBu projects as well as people who have been involved in our project so far.  Wendy Freer gave us an insight into “Ashby 2010″ – once we’d managed to find a lap top that worked!  It was really interesting to see the approach another museum is taking.  Rod Duncan explained his role to the group and will hopefully be writing some blogs on what he discovered on his visit to Nottingham.

Then came the big premiere.  The documentry film focuses on the working lives of a group of people who worked at John Player and Sons from the 1960s onwards.  We’ve acquired some excellent historic film from MACE, and this features in the film, helping to illustrate the buildings and processes that are talked about.  There are some moments of humour as well as a wealth of information – such as Dave explaining he was planning to go to Boots and train as a plumber, but he lost his letter of introduction.

We hope the film will not just appeal to former employees, but to anyone with an interest in local history.  We’ll let you know as soon as the film is linked up to Youtube, which should be within the next couple of weeks.


Player’s Past Film Launch

Player’s Past Film Launch

The Launch for our Player’s Past short film will be coming up soon, the film is currently being edited and images from the photographic collection are being added to it.  The date has been fixed for the 2nd November at Nottingham Castle.  The event will begin at 10:30 and end at 12.30 with lunch.  There will be speakers from Renaissance East Midlands, MACE and the Ashby 2010 Film for the Future MuBu Project at the event.  We would also like one of the former employees to introduce the film.   The film will be approximately 30 minutes long and will include interviews with the former employees involved in the Player’s Past sessions, an interview with Professor Chris Wrigley and footage of Player’s in the 1970s.  The film will also be a part of the exhibition and will be uploaded onto youtube.

A Launch Flyer will be produced and sent out soon to all involved, with further information on the event.


Heritage Awards Success!!

Regional Heritage Awards, Kelham Hall, Newark. From left: Andrew Newnham, Alex Hague, Ann Inscker

Heritage Awards Success!!

I am very pleased to announce here that the John Player project has won the Regional Heritage Award for Collections Care and Development.  The ceremony was held at Kelham Hall, Newark last Thursday evening.  It really does show how much we’ve achieved with such a large collection.  We have strived to develop the collection and make it more accessible through this website, the sessions with participants who worked at Player’s, the short film we have made and the work that our volunteers have done. 

Thank you to everyone involved, especially Maria Erskine keeper of Social History, Andrew Newnham John Player’s Advertising Archive Collection Development Assistant and Ann Inscker, Collections Manager.  All the volunteers involved in work on the collection and all the participants in the Player’s Past and Tailormade sessions whose input really helped us to fully understand and appreciate the social importance of John Player’s in Nottingham.


Nottinghamshire Heritage Gateway

Nottinghamshire Heritage Gateway


Two weeks ago Maria and I had a meeting with Dr Denise Amos discussing a John Player pathway on the Nottinghamshire Heritage Gateway website, linked to the Thoroton Society.  This is a very useful website for anyone wanting to do research about any part of Nottinghamshire’s history and as Player’s had such a strong impact on the city, it is relevant for there to be information about it on the website. 

I am currently drafting the overview of the pathway, which will be approximately 1500-2000 words detailing the history of Player’s from the beginning to the present.   I will also be searching for images of Player’s buildings and factories for the structural section.  In the graphic section will be images of counter cards, advertising posters and photographs of events etc.  I will also be supplying information about primary and secondary sources about the history of Player’s for anyone who wishes to read more about the company.  The details of the film and oral history work done with the participants for the player’s past and tailor-made sessions will also be on the website.


Adverts as Inspiration

Adverts as Inspiration

We’re pleased to announce that we’ll soon be working with the writer Andy Barrett, thanks to Mubu’s links with Writing East Midlands.  We’ve had our first face to face meeting and are coming up with a plan to involve young people in our project.  The idea is to work with people aged between 16 and 19 and use the tobacco adverts as inspiration for a film that explores the imagery.  If anyone has any tips on similiar programmes they have ran in the past we’d be interested in hearing from them.


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.


About this Sponsor

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