SJ3384 : The Lever Brothers' War Memorial, Port Sunlight

taken 9 years ago, near to Port Sunlight, Wirral, Great Britain

The Lever Brothers' War Memorial, Port Sunlight
The Lever Brothers' War Memorial, Port Sunlight
The magnificent Lever Brothers War Memorial, at the centre of Port Sunlight village, is the second largest war memorial in the country after the Cenotaph in Whitehall. The monument was commissioned by Lord Leverhulme in 1917 to honour those Lever Brothers’ employees who fell in the Great War.

The monument is themed “Defence of the home” and is very unusual for a Great War memorial in that it shows a number of women and children. The central cross is surrounded by several groups of greater than life-size figures: "Soldiers guard women and children and a wounded comrade whom a nurse is about to tend; a seated woman cradles a group of infants, and a frightened little girl stands, guarded by her equally frightened but brave and defiant younger brother; a Boy Scout stands with the soldiers" (LinkExternal link The Victorian Web).
Port Sunlight Garden Village

Port Sunlight was built in the late 1880s by William Hesketh Lever (later Viscount Leverhulme) to expand his soap-making business, which was at that time based in Warrington. His company (Lever Brothers, now part of Unilever) bought the area of flat unused marshy land south of the River Mersey. It was large enough to allow space for expansion, and had a prime location between the river and a railway line. Work commenced in 1888 and the site became Port Sunlight, where William Lever built his works and a model village to house his employees. The village name is derived from Lever Brothers’ most popular brand of soap, "Sunlight". William Lever personally supervised planning the village, which is arguably the finest surviving example of early urban planning in the UK.

Between 1899 and 1914, approximately 900 houses were built to house a population of 3,500 in addition to some larger "principal" buildings including the Lady Lever Art Gallery, a cottage hospital, schools, a concert hall, open air swimming pool, church, and a temperance hotel. Nearly every building in the village is Grade II listed and two sections of the landscape are included in the English Heritage Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest. Lever employed over 30 different architects in the building of the village resulting in a mix of architectural styles enhanced by the parkland and some excellent public sculptures.

Lever was a philanthropist with a passion for art and architecture. The garden village had allotments and public buildings; Lever introduced welfare schemes, and provided for the education and entertainment of his workforce, encouraging recreation and organisations which promoted art, literature, science or music. The sheer scale of his philanthropy was unprecedented and the whole of Port Sunlight is now a Conservation Area and a major tourist attraction for The Wirral, standing as an enduring testament to the achievements of a remarkable man.

Today, approximately 250 of the houses in the village belong to the Port Sunlight Village Trust. The remainder are privately owned having been sold by the company during the 1980s. Up until that decade, all residents of Port Sunlight were employees of Unilever and their families.

LinkExternal link Port Sunlight Village Trust
LinkExternal link Wikipedia Article (Port Sunlight)
LinkExternal link Wikipedia biography (William Hesketh Lever)

Creative Commons Licence [Some Rights Reserved]   © Copyright David Dixon and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.
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SJ3384, 373 images   (more nearby search)
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Date Taken
Tuesday, 5 June, 2012   (more nearby)
Thursday, 7 June, 2012
Geographical Context
Historic sites and artefacts  Village, Rural settlement  People, Events 
Subject Location
OSGB36: geotagged! SJ 3367 8447 [10m precision]
WGS84: 53:21.1761N 2:59.8779W
Camera Location
OSGB36: geotagged! SJ 3369 8440
View Direction
North-northwest (about 337 degrees)
Looking for a postcode? Try this pageExternal link
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Other Tags
War Memorial  The Great War  First World War  World War I  Tree-Lined Avenue  Monument  Memorial 

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