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‘Counter culture’: Boots launches exhibition to celebrate 175th birthday

Boots is giving its staff pin badges and birthday cake – and has launched an exhibition – to mark its 175th anniversary, it has told C+D.  

Boots’ new “counter culture” exhibition opened last Friday (May 3) to mark the 175th year of the UK’s largest pharmacy multiple, which it is celebrating today (May 17).

The free exhibition exploring “175 years of shopping at Boots” will be open to the public until July 21 at the Djanogly Gallery in The University of Nottingham’s public arts centre.

Boots described the exhibition as “part design show, part social history” that “explores changing experiences on the high street using historic objects, images and architecture”.

Boots UK company archivist Sophie Clapp told C+D this week (May 14) that “the location is significant” because it’s “land that Jesse Boot” – the son of Boots’ founder – “donated to the city, so it's got that authentic connection between us and the university”.

“We wanted it to be something that was meaningful and relevant for everybody, so this very much puts customers at the heart of the exhibition,” she said.

“This isn't a corporate narrative, although we're looking at the history of shopping through the lens of a shop”, she added.


Nationwide celebrations


The multiple told C+D this week (May 15) that all team members will also get a commemorative 175 anniversary pin badge to mark the milestone.

Boots branch and headquarters staff across the country will also be able to celebrate with birthday cake and by taking part in a commemorative Boots quiz, it said.

The multiple is also holding charity initiatives, such as Macmillan mighty hikes, which some staff are taking up to celebrate, it added.

Meanwhile, C+D last month exclusively revealed the locations of 245 Boots branches that closed between March 2023 and March 2024.

Last June, the multiple confirmed plans to close 300 branches across England “over the next year”.

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