The Evolution of High Street Health and Beauty: 175 Years of Boots

Boots has around 2,000 stores across the country and is the UK’s number one most visited health and beauty website

Friday 17 May 2024, Nottingham: Today, Boots celebrates 175 years since Boots founder, John Boot, a small herbalist store on Nottingham’s Goose Gate, offering an affordable alternative to traditional medicines.

By the time his son Jesse took sole control of the business in 1877, he had positioned Boots as the store which offered traditional medicines at greatly reduced prices. From 1886, Jesse’s wife Florence was instrumental in establishing Boots as a destination for high street beauty.

‘Health for a Shilling,’ Cold Cream and Epsom Salts, No7 and home brew kits. The iconic products and adverts, from bygone days to the modern era, invoke memories for all of us of Boots. 

In 2024, Boots has around 2,000 stores across the country and is the UK’s number one most visited health and beauty website. Boots offers over 500 beauty, skincare and haircare brands and over 600 healthcare brands alongside dispensing millions of prescriptions a day and delivering 150 healthcare services on behalf of the NHS and privately.

Over 52,000 Boots team members will be marking its 175 milestone this week (w/c 13th May 2024), culminating in a day of celebrations on 17 May 2024.

Boots has also collaborated with the University of Nottingham on a brand-new exhibition that explores how shopping has changed over nearly two centuries. It marks the first time that items from the Boots archive will be available on public display on this scale. The exhibition is open at Lakeside Arts’ Djanogly Gallery until 21 July 2024 and is free to visit.

Boots Archivist Sophie Clapp has co-curated the exhibition and is an expert in the health and beauty retailer’s enduring position on the high street and the vast history of the household brand.


Andriana Toneva


Tel: +44 (0) 7761 255 487

Caitlin Warner


Tel: +44 (0) 7480 141 314

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