Narrowboat Tacet

Silent Movement - Our gap year travelling the inland waterways

Friday, 14 September 2012

Port Sunlight

Whilst we were at Ellesmere Port, we took a train ride out to Port Sunlight. 
Railway station

In 1888 the Lever Brothers were looking for a site to move their expanding soap making business from Warrington.  They bought the 56 acres of unused, marshy land, in Cheshire, a good location close to the River Mersey and a railway line.
Lever Building, now Unilever

Port Sunlight is the result,  a "Garden Village" planned by William Hesketh Lever to house the workers at the new soap factory. Thirty different architects were employed, which gives the village a lovely mix of cottagey houses, with lots of different styles.  Altogether 800 houses were built and the village had a population of 3,500.

There were also allotments, open park spaces, a cottage hospital, swimming pool, church, school, concert hall and a temperance hotel.
Bowling green

Lady Lever Art Gallery

War Memorial

Village church

The Lever brothers were model employers, providing education, and social activities, as well as a week's paid holiday, and a pension scheme for their workers.

The name Port Sunlight was taken from their most popular brand of soap, Sunlight.

The factory is now owned by Unilever, producing foodstuffs as well as items of personal care. Until the 1980's all residents were employees of Unilever and their families. some of the houses are now privately owned  some managed by the Port Sunlight Trust.
It's a really lovely village, worth the trip to see.

A recent addition to the village is the Diamond Jubilee sundial garden.
When the sun is shining, if  you stand on the correct month of the year, marked on the ground your shadow falls across the numbered posts in the flowerbed. The outer ones for GMT and the inner for BST, (think that's the right way round!). There was no sun on Sunday so we couldn't try it out.

This sign at the station amused me with the ticket office opening times.  Made me think of a certain friend. He'll know who he is!
Gradually catching up, but we still get days when signal is so slow.  Today, we have got to the end eventually.


  1. Those times look perfectly acceptable to me!

  2. Port Sunlight looks a lot better planned out than a lot of more modern settlements!

    1. It is a lovely village to visit and I'm sure to to live in too.