‘Players’ Factory Closure Overview

When Imperial Tobacco formally announced the closure of their ‘Players’ Horizon Factory in 2016, John Pye Auctions had already been appointed as chosen auctioneers following a successful formal tender process.

This UK and Nottingham cigarette manufacturing giant, formerly known as ‘Players’ after founder tobacconist John Player who started the business in 1871, developed and opened the 45-acre site Horizon factory in 1972.

Costing £14m at the time it was one of the most modern factories in the UK, at its height capable of producing 52 billion cigarettes a year and employing 7,000 staff. So substantial was the Horizon factory’s operations and workforce that it had its own in-house Doctor and Dentist.

John Player cigarette brand even adourned Formula One for three decades, establishing Team Lotus Player’s black and gold livery as one of the most iconic sights in F1 racing in the 1980s.

However, in April 2014 Imperial Tobacco plc announced it was to close the Horizon factory and move production to Poland and Germany, marking the closure of the last cigarette manufacturing factory in Britain and marking the end of 140 years of tobacco production in Nottingham which spanned generations.

As Imperial Tobacco’s appointed Auctioneers, John Pye Auctions undertook site appraisals and valuations provided by both our Business Assets and Luxury Assets departments, with a range of surplus assets and stock spanning artefacts, plant, machinery, vehicles and materials considered for disposal by the Imperial Tobacco plc board, before undertaking site clearance and removal after on-site risk assessments.

John Pye are currently holding a series of auctions of iconic Players’ assets and artefacts, engaging both the Nottinghamshire region as well as the UK’s manufacturing sector and the international tobacco collectors community, with lots marketed through our extensive John Pye Auctions bidder and buyer database, Nottinghamshire Cricket Club sponsorship and offered for saleroom viewing through our Nottingham and Mayfair premises.

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