The site of the former Ogdens tobacco factory in Everton is currently being converted into over one hundred homes. Only the listed clock tower, which will be converted into apartments, survives of a factory that employed over two thousand at its peak.
Ogdens was founded in 1860 when Thomas Ogden opened a shop in Park Lane in the south end of Liverpool. More shops opened across the town during the next decade, as well as a factory in St James Street. After Ogden died in 1890, the running of the company was taken over by two of his sons. The factory and offices at Boundary Lane in Everton were built in 1899, merging the operations of six others that were spread across the city into one site.
In 1901 Ogdens was sold to the American Tobacco Company for £818,000, equivalent to £92 million today. A year later it was back in British hands when the Imperial Tobacco Company was formed out of a merger between several companies. The Ogdens named didn’t disappear though and cigarettes were made the for sixty years.
From 1962 the site concentrated on pipe and had rolled tobacco, with the factory being redeveloped and modernised in the late 1970s. As attitudes to smoking changed the factory went into decline and in 2006 the Imperial Tobacco Company announced it was ceasing production at Boundary Lane. The last tobacco was produced there in March 2007 and the site put up for sale. English Heritage immediately moved to secure Grade II listed status for the office block and clock tower, citing its high quality of craftsmanship both internally and externally.
To reflect their various business interests, Bristol based Imperial Tobacco renamed itself Imperial Brands in 2016, the same year their last UK factory in Nottingham closed.
After having lain empty for nine years, Liverpool Mutual Homes completed the purchase of the Ogdens Tobacco site in 2016. The office block and clock tower remain but the factory buildings have been demolished to make way for affordable new homes. Thomas Ogden, whose opening of a tobaccos shop back in 1860 began the chain of events that led to this, is buried in Toxteth Park Cemetery. His grave is one of the closest to the chapel but sadly the lettering is badly weathered and largely illegible.