Two of Nottingham’s most successful entrepreuneurs of the 19th century were Jesse Boot and John Player. The first one developed a health empire and the later to counter it by manufacturing billions of cigaretes!

Jesse Boot, the founder of the chain of Boots the Chemist shops, started life in his widowed mother’s herbalist shop on Goose Gate in Nottingham and went on to found the Boot’s Pure Drug Company in 1888. The Boot’s the Chemist’s first shop in Nottingham was opened in 1892 and was situated in Pelham Street.

There had been a small tabacco factory in Nottingham for over 50 years when John Player took it over in 1877 and it was in the late 1890 when the great expansion in the business took place which led in 1901 to the foundation of the Imperial Tobacco Company.