In 1887 William Hesketh Lever, founder of the soap making concern Lever Brothers, started building a model village for his employees on the Wirral close to his factory that made Sunlight soap. The village was named Port Sunlight and now contains 900 listed buildings in the village alone.
The garden village was founded to house his factory workers. Lever personally helped to plan the village, and employed nearly thirty different architects. Between 1899 and 1914, 800 houses with a population of 3,500 were built, together with allotments and public buildings including the Lady Lever Art Gallery, a cottage hospital, schools, a concert hall, open air swimming pool, church, and a temperance hotel. He also introduced schemes for welfare, education and the entertainment of his workers, and encouraged recreation and organisations which promoted art, literature, science or music.
Lever's stated aims were "to socialise and Christianise business relations and get back to that close family brotherhood that existed in the good old days of hand labour." He claimed that Port Sunlight was an exercise in profit sharing, but rather than share profits directly, he invested them in the village. He said, "It would not do you much good if you send it down your throats in the form of bottles of whisky, bags of sweets, or fat geese at Christmas. On the other hand, if you leave the money with me, I shall use it to provide for you everything that makes life pleasant – nice houses, comfortable homes, and healthy recreation
In 1930 the Lever Memorial, designed by Sir William Reid Dick, was unveiled. at the foot of the memorialis a group of four figures, in the front they represent Industry, Charity and Education whilst Art is standing to thr rear of the group.
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