It is, without doubt, the ugliest building in Nottingham. In fact, it must be a contender for the ugliest building in the UK.
The Imperial Tobacco Horizon Factory is to be demolished. And I have said, publicly, that I would be happy to press the button on the wrecking ball. I won’t be chained the railings stopping them raze this brutalist monstrosity to the ground.
There are prettier airports.
But, apparently, there are people who love it. They love the lines, the form, the perfect symmetry, and proportions. They even espouse the concrete textures. Some folks in Nottingham even tried to get it listed.
It opened in 1972 and cost £15m. It was designed by Arup and was ‘state of the art’. Even the name ‘Horizon’ conjures up a romantic suggestion – belying the underlying truth of what they actually made here and the devastating effects of smoking to health. It is said that globally, tobacco use killed 100 million people in the 20th century, much more than all deaths in World Wars I and II combined (see The Tobacco Atlas)
Of course, Nottingham history books have an indelible link with Players, along with Boots and Raleigh. My Grandmother worked at Player, my Uncle at Raleigh. Most families were touched by these three businesses. Only Boots now exist as truly Nottingham firms (although Raleigh does have a presence in Eastwood).
In its heyday, there were 9,000 people employed, although this was slimmed to around 1,000. Although you must have sympathy for those who lost their jobs, we should not cry about losing this monolith. There are very few 1970’s buildings which merit retention, let alone having celebrity status.
This is a building which I will not miss. Bye.