Manuscripts and Special Collections

Weston Gallery Exhibition

Inspiring Beauty
No7 ~ 80 years of making up the modern woman

Dates: Friday 15 January to Sunday 17 April 2016

Admission free

No7 is one of the UK’s most longstanding beauty brands.  To celebrate its 80th anniversary, the exhibition will feature previously unseen material from Boots archive, charting key moments in the history of this Nottingham-born brand, from its initial launch in 1935 to its development as an international beauty range.

Originally created with the modern woman in mind, No7 has developed over the years to address their changing beauty needs. Launched in an era which was soon to be
transformed by the Second World War, this exhibition will explore the social changes affecting women during the last eight decades and the extent to which No7 responded to them. It explores war-time shortages to the explosion of colour and choice in the 1960s to enable glamour-on-the-go, and shows how in more recent years the demands of women for purity and efficacy have helped to shape product development. Through the packaging, advertising and formulations of No7, we can deconstruct the cosmetic evolution of the modern woman.



Beauty rituals have been an important aspect of society throughout time. This exhibition will uncover past secrets of the boudoir, the motives behind them and the drive to realise them.

This exhibition has been jointly curated by the Boots Archive, Dr. Richard Hornsey (Lecturer in Modern British History at The University of Nottingham) and Manuscripts and Special Collections at The University of Nottingham.

Location and Opening Times

Weston Gallery
DH Lawrence Pavilion
Nottingham Lakeside Arts
University Park

Box Office: 0115 8467777

Opening times:

Monday to Friday 11am-4pm Saturday, Sunday and bank holidays noon-4pm.

Ask to join our mailing list to receive invitations to future private views of the exhibitions.

For the latest news and images on the progress of  exhibitions, follow us on Twitter:


Lunchtime Talks

1PM – 2PM



A series of talks will be held to accompany the exhibition. Places are limited so please book in advance with the Box Office on 0115 846 7777

Face Values: a Cultural History of Make-up
25 February 2016
Dr. Richard Hornsey explores the changing meanings of the made-up face in 20th century Britain, tracing how women's use of cosmetics became a focus for wider debates around morality, freedom, health and self expression.

7 steps to perfection
9 March 2016
Drawing from material, images and stories from the Boots Archive, archivist Judith Wright will explore the different elements that have contributed towards the success of No7, from the creation of innovative products to eye catching designs and advertising to the people behind their development and the women who loved them.

Rejuvinate: Anti-aging in the twentieth century
12 April 2016
Ageing is a process that will affect us all. Throughout human history we have tried to slow down and even reverse the effects of ageing. Dr James Stark (Research Fellow, Leeds Humanities Research Institute) will explore how and why a wide range of anti-ageing technologies and products gained popularity in the 20th century, how our understanding of ageing and youth has changed and reflect on what it means to age. 

Special Events

Please book in advance with the Box Office on 0115 846 7777.

Lipstick & Lace: Creative Workshop
23 January 2pm – 5.30pm

Performing Arts Studio 

Design your own unique cosmetic bag using images from the No7 archive collection and an exquisite selection of Nottingham lace, threads, cloths and other embellishments. Hosted by local craft practitioner Debbie Bryan, and helped along by a sumptuous afternoon tea, you will have the chance to create something truly individual. All materials provided. Booking essential. Maximum 20 people.

£15 per person


Manuscripts and Special Collections

Kings Meadow Campus
Lenton Lane
Nottingham, NG7 2NR

telephone: +44 (0) 115 951 4565
fax: +44 (0) 115 846 8651