Ref NoWBA/BT/33
TitlePrinting Department
DescriptionPapers include employee agreements, management information and photographs of the buildings connected to the printing function. The catalogue is in the process of being updated and additional entries for this function are anticipated.
LevelFunction
Administrative HistoryBoots Printing Department was established by Jesse Boot in 1890. It was originally housed in a small cottage room and had two employees, a printer and an assistant who produced hand bills and price tickets.

The following year the Department moved into a Boots factory on Island Street, Nottingham and was equipped with a range of manual and powered printing machinery.

By 1892 there were 5 steam printing machines, a guillotine, folder and presses. There were 12 members of staff - compositors, machinists and a master printer - producing circulars, labels, and other printed matter pertaining to the business.

The Department continued to expand; in 1893 there were 13 men employed in the Printing Department, in 1896 there were 22 men and 25 women and in 1898 there were 58 men and 19 women. As a result of this expansion the Department moved from its home at Island Street to bigger premises on Station Street, Nottingham in May 1899.

Around 1930 the Printing Department moved again to purpose built premises also located on Station Street. Old factories, stables and a public house were demolished to make way for the new building in an attempt to centralise many of the different processes that made up the Printing Department. The premises consisted of a Paper Warehouse, a Composing Room, Monotype Plant, Stereotyping Department, Platen Room, Letterpress Department, and a Carton Room.

In 1939, shortly before the outbreak of war there were 700 people were employed in the Printing Department. This was made up of 375 males - 217 journeymen and 158 other males, and 325 Females.

On the evening of 8th May 1941 the Printing Works was virtually demolished during one of Nottingham’s worst air raids. Four people died during the raid; three firewatchers and a watchman. A Boots Nurse, Nurse Anderson, received one of the highest civilian awards for courage, the George Medal, for battling through burning debris to give first aid to the injured. Boots managed to salvage some of the machinery from the wreckage at Station Street and production was able to continue in temporary accommodation, which was provided in part by others printing companies within Nottingham.

A new purpose built factory to house the Printing Department was completed in 1952 on the same site as the previous building, at a cost of £1,385,645. At the entrance to the building a plaque was erected which read ‘This building completed on December 1st 1952 replaces a group of buildings destroyed by enemy action on the night of May 8th 1941. The following employees of Boots Pure Drug Company gave their lives carrying out their duties: William Dakin aged 35, Derek Needham aged 16, Eric Sedgwick aged 27, Harold Towle aged 21’.

In 1975 Boots Print Works produced 1.66 million diaries, and in 1976 Boots claimed that the printing department was the ‘largest ‘in plant’ printing works in Britain, and probably in Europe’, with 200,000 sq. feet in size and 630 employees. It had a turnover at this time of approximately £8 million.

On 1st October 1989 it was announced that Boots Print was to become a Limited Company within The Boots Company PLC Group. Around this time Boots Print was employing over 525 people, and the business had an annual sales turnover of approximately £20 million.

In 1993 Boots sold its packaging business, which formed part of Boots Print Subsidiary, to the Field Group for £6 million. The disposal reflected Boots strategy of focusing its resources on core business areas at the time. The diaries, calendars and promotional print divisions of Boots Print were transferred from the existing premises at Station Street to a factory on Colwick Business Park. On 31st August 1995 Boots completed the sale of its remaining print business to Macdermott and Chant.
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