Boots D10

Sir Paul Smith

The facade of the Boots D10 building © Boots

...In comparison with other examples of design and architecture from that time the building was space age!

The interior of D10 © Andy

The D10 Boots building holds a very distinct place in my heart. Growing up in Nottingham, I vividly remember admiring the building from the train, seeing it from a distance but with it being the Boots headquarters never being able to get close to it.

D10 lobby from the fourth floor © Andy

Jesse Boot was such an important and influential figure in the area and known amongst other things for supporting the construction of the Nottingham University building. With the D10 building, I think the attitude of commissioning Owen Williams who was an architect with such a modern vision, to build what was basically a factory was such a brave move. In comparison with other examples of design and architecture from that time the building was space age! The use of glass, the use of modern materials and technology, really represents the very unique attitude of the Jesse Boot and his colleagues responsible for commissioning it.

D10 in the 1930s © Boots Women working in the D10 in the 1930s © Boots

My interest in modernism really started with the Bauhaus exhibition in the Royal Academy which took place in the late Sixties. Around that timeI was introduced to Domus Magazine, which by some miracle I managed to get my hands on in Nottingham, and then just realised there was this world where people had a very different way of thinking about things.

That approach of not always using traditional or familiar materials to create something was incredibly influential to me – for example using the tube of bicycle handlebar to create the structure of a chair or instead of bricks using glass. That very different way of thinking about things was intriguing to me then and still is today.

Just before lockdown a stache of photographic glass negatives were found in an attic, 279 in all, providing unique images of Boots in the 1930s. The images have been purchased by Boots, two are shown here and others can be viewed on the link below.

More photos from the Nottingham Post.

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