Place NameBuilding D10
Place EntryBuilding D10/Beeston Site/Nottingham/Nottinghamshire/England
NotesD10 was the second factory to be built on Boots Beeston site at a cost of £300,000 (approximately £19 million today). It was built for the manufacture, storage and distribution of ‘wet’ goods such as creams, pastes and liquids.

The factory was designed by the engineer Owen Williams, who had previously designed the 1924 British Empire Exhibition at Wembley and the Dorchester Hotel. The D10 factory was designed by Williams as a ‘shell surrounding a process’, and it was carefully constructed to allow a continous flow of materials from the arrival dock on the south side of the building, through to the manufacturing and packing sections, to the 'finished' stock' warehouse and a despatch dock on the north side. Movement of materials was reduced to the minimum and wherever possible was supported by mechanical means.

D10 was the first large industrial building in Britain to be built almost entirely from concrete and glass. It was twice the length of a football pitch, over 70 feet in height, with 695,000 feet of floor space and 5 acres of glazing. The roof was embedded with over 150,000 glass discs, each 8½ inches in diameter. So much glass meant that the building was flooded with natural light in an attempt to improve working conditions for Boots employees. The most important aspect of the building was the complete subservience of almost every feature of design to efficiency and functionality. Full use was made of gravity and automatic conveyors (paternosters) to carry materials, with overall movement from raw materials to finished products from south to north through the building. Lord Trent said on the 9th June 1933 that D10 was part of, "Without doubt ... the finest block of buildings for their purpose in this country today".

The official opening took place on 27th July 1933. Lady Trent, John Boot’s wife, performed the ceremony by smashing a bottle of White Heather eau de cologne (one of the products being produced in D10) against the wall of the factory, and journalists nicknamed it the ‘Crystal Palace of industry’ and the ‘factory of Utopia’.

Initially, 1200 people were employed to work in D10 – 750 women and 450 men. In addition to manufacturing facilities, it also housed management and buying offices, quality control, laboratories and canteens. The perfumery was also located in D10, enclosed by glass walls and housed under a huge glass dome in an attempt to prevent the release of aromas.

By 1934 the new factory had proved so efficient that it was producing a surplus of goods. Rather than make employees redundant, Boots experimented with the introduction of a reduced working week, from five and a half days to five, with no reduction in pay. Boots commissioned an independent review ('A Review of the Experimental Working of the Five Days Week by BPDC at Nottingham' by Sir Richard Redmayne) to assess the impact of the experiment. The positive findings of the report such as increased productivity, less sickness and absenteeism, led to the permanent establishment of the five-day manufacturing week at Boots, which later became an industry standard.

During the Second World War, where possible all glass was removed from the building and replaced with fibre board. If the glass had to be left in place it was reinforced by 'Nuart' netting glued to the surface to stop the formation of splinters; blast walls were built inside and the exterior of the building was painted with camouflage colours. Nets were draped over the roof to break up the regular lines and blackout paint was used with blinds being fitted to most windows. Electric lights were removed before being substituted with dim blue lighting.

In 1971, D10 was awarded Grade 1 listed status by English Heritage, primarily due to its architectural Interest; it is of international interest and is widely regarded as the most significant icon of British Modernism. It was also as a result of the architect, Williams, who is one of the most influential and innovative engineering architects of the C20, and due to its historic interest; it is an outstanding example of the 'daylight' factory model on a scale not seen in England before. The listed status was also aided by the group value provided by other buildings on the Beeston site, included those designed by Williams (D6 and D34), and D90 which is listed at Grade ll*.

A £20 million renovation project was carried out on the building in the early 1990s which received a Europa Nostra award for architectural conservation. The renovation not only introduced modern facilities inside the building but restored it to its impressive appearance of the 1930s. This included the replacement of 36,000 square feet of external glazing, replacement of the roof waterproofing and drainage system, new piped and electrical services and the installation of extensive new plant rooms and environmental systems.

The D10 building is still central to the Boot's manufacturing interests and is the headquarters of Boots Contract Manufacturing. Today it produces ranges such as Soap and Glory and No7's Protect and Perfect.

Show related catalogue records.

    Powered by CalmView© 2008-2018