Born in Sierra Leone, and brought to England in slavery aged three, George Africanus went on to become Nottingham's first black entrepreneur founding the Africanus' Register of Servants - a servant agency, and Watch & Ward. His wife Esther opened a milliners business on the same premises. George bought adjacent land and gained the rent from three houses built on it. Having now met all the qualifications to be a Freeman, George was eligible to vote in elections in Nottingham. George John Scipio Africanus died in 1834, aged 71 years, and is buried in St Mary's Church, Nottingham.
Gunn & Moore
William Gunn (1858 - 1921) and Thomas James Moore (1851 - 1901) founded the Gunn & Moore Company which has been making bats from English willow in Nottingham since 1885. William was a well-renowned cricketer (and footballer) and Thomas Moore was a businessman, working his way up from being a shopkeeper to being a "sporting requirements manufacturer" (as he described himself in the 1901 Census). The company also supplies a variety of other goods for cricketers including gloves, pads, balls, helmets, bodyguards, clothing and footwear. National and international cricketers sponsored by Gunn & Moore include Steve Harmison, Brendon McCullum, Jonty Rhodes, Marcus Trescothick, and Michael Vaughn. William's nephew, George Gunn (1879-1958) was also a famous cricketer and played for Nottinghamshire. He was a right hand bat and right arm bowler from Hucknall Torkard.
John Player was the son of a solicitor. In 1877 he took over a tobacconist's in Broad Marsh, and conceived the idea of selling pre-packaged branded tobacco. By 1881 he needed three new factory blocks so purchased additional land in Radford. Less than 100 years later Player's company was making a third of Britain's cigarettes. Today the old "lace factory" on the Radford site is dwarfed by the branch's modern factories and businesses.
Sir Frank Bowden
Industrialist Frank Bowden (1829-1912) was told in 1887 that he had only months to live. He followed the advice of his doctor who told him to take up cycling to save his life. Bowden went to Raleigh Street, where he found 12 men in a small workshop producing three cycles a week. He decided to buy the workshop and the Raleigh Cycle Company was founded.
Sir Jesse Boot
Sir Jesse Boot (1850-1931) transformed a small herbal store into the powerful pharmaceutical giant 'Boots the Chemist'. He lived in Hockley, which in 19th century Nottingham was a poor area. His famous quote is, "Cheap drugs would be dear if they were cheap and nasty. Nasty to the palate many drugs are bound to be; but worse is the nastiness of bad quality." In recognition of his work and extreme generosity to the city, Boots was presented with the Freedom of the City of Nottingham in 1920. He was also knighted in 1909, received a baronetcy in 1916, and in the New Years Honours of 1929, was elevated to the peerage as the first Lord Trent of Nottingham.