Port Sunlight

William Hesketh Lever came to the Wirral area looking for a suitable site to build a soap factory. His vision was to build, not only the factory, but also houses for all his workers.

He found and bought 56 acres of land at 200 UK Pounds per acre and the building of Port Sunlight village began in 1889 with 28 houses designed by William Owen in a road named Bolton Road [Photograph] after Lever's birthplace.

By 1900 there were over 400 houses and more land was purchased until the village reached it's present size of 130 acres with 800 houses and a population of 4000.

Two large schools educated over 3000 pupils and a Technical Institute provided evening classes. There was also a library, a museum, numerous shops and an open-air heated swimming pool.

The Bridge Inn [Photograph]opened in 1900 as a temperance hotel! It was several years before some of the residents/workers asked for it to be licenced.The village church was built in 1902-1904 at the personal expense of Lord Leverhulme.

The Lady Lever Art Gallery [Photograph]was built as a memorial to his wife and contains one of the most extensive private collections in the world. It was designed by William Owen and stands impressively alone at the end of a long wide esplanade known as The Diamond.


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