Image caption Production at Imperial Tobacco's Horizon factory is now consigned to the history books

The last pack of UK-made cigarettes has rolled off the production line as the country's merely tobacco factory prepares to shut down for good.

The closure of Imperial Tobacco's Horizon factory in Nottingham was announced two years ago and will lead to over 500 job losses.

Most of the staff will leave next week, with 70 staying on for 18 months as part of the “decommissioning process”.

The site's closure has been blamed partly on positions to smoking.

Image caption At its height, the site was capable of producing 52 billion cigarettes a year

Chris Needham, regional organiser for the GMB trade union, told at its height, the firm utilized 7,000 staff and induced 52 billion cigarettes each year.

Mr Needham said operations would move to Poland and Germany, which will increase gains by 320 m.

Image caption Imperial Tobacco said about 70 personnel would remain for up to 18 months as part of the firm's “decommissioning process”

“We're talking about generations that have been manufacturing in Nottingham since 1860, ” he told.

“The Horizon factory has been part of Imperial Tobacco, worldwide, producing gains in the billions.”

Image caption The company's gains will increase by 320 m once it moves operations to mainland Europe, union representative Chris Needham told

Mr Needham told 16 to 17 billion cigarettes – or “sticks” as they are known by staff – were produced last year.

“The issue is about sums, ” he told. “And the stigma of smoking has been one of the major factors.

“They[ the company] are moving to the Asian marketplaces where the stigma is not as great. Iraq, Syria, Russia, China – these are places I'm sure will be targeted by Imperial Tobacco.”

History of the Horizon factory

Business founded in Nottingham by John Player, who was registered as a tobacconist in 1871 He became so successful that seven years later he bought a factory and began manufacturing handmade cigarettes Another three factory blocks had been built in the Radford area of Nottingham by the 1880 s The current Horizon factory opened in 1972. Costing 14 m, it was one of the most modern mills of the time Image caption The factory was considered the high levels of modernity when it opened in the 1970 s Image caption Social positions to smoking are partly to blame for the site's decline, according to Mr Needham and history prof John Beckett Image caption Janet May Dangerfield joined the company straight-out after leaving school at persons under the age of 15 Image caption The business was founded by John Player, who was registered as a tobacconist in 1871 Image caption The firm produced cigarette brands including Lambert& Butler and JPS