"In the end, it's not the years in your life that count, it's the life in your years." - Abraham Lincoln

Posted on December 20, 2017 by Sioux under General
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I had a few days before my next assignment in Liverpool, so had loads of time to do some exploring, as well as a new arrival to meet! I was staying in an area called Port Sunlight, in Liverpool, which is one of the finest surviving garden villages in the UK. 

Founded by William Lever in 1888, the area was built for the workers at the soap factory of Lever Brothers. His aim was to supply his workers with homes rather than bonuses which could be ‘frivolously wasted’, and until the 1980s, all residents were employees (and their families) of Unilever. All of the houses face outwards onto the streets, so only the fronts were visible in order to project a good impression at all times. 

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There are 900 historical ‘listed buildings’ in the village, built by some 30 different architects, and it was declared a Conservation Area in 1978. The area has been put forward for World Heritage Site status to protect it from development and to preserve the unique character for future generations, but as yet the status has not been granted. 

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The war memorial, constructed in 1921, is themed around ‘Defence of the Home’. The bronze panels show groups of children offering wreaths and garlands as symbols of gratitude to the soldiers. The depiction of women and children on a war memorial was very unusual and the sculptor was highly criticized for it, but he believed they played as important a part in war as the men and soldiers. The children were modeled on the grandchildren of William Lever. 

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The Port Sunlight Christ Church was built between 1902 and 1904, and paid for by William Lever. In 1914 the Lever family vault was added as a memorial to the memory of Lady Lever. In the memorial is the chest tomb of Lady Lever, who died in 1913, and of William Lever, who died in 1925. On the tomb are bronze effigies of them both. Unfortunately the church was locked so I didn’t get to see the inside. 

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The Lady Lever Art Gallery was built in order that Lever, who enjoyed travel and collecting items of value during his travels, could share his collection with his staff. Today it houses the best of his personal collection of 18th and 19th century paintings, sculptures, furniture & pottery which he amassed during his lifetime. 

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The Leverhulme Memorial near to the Lady Lever Art Gallery

commemorates the life of William Lever, 1st Viscount Leverhulme;

and was mostly funded by individual contributions from the workers

at his company, Lever Brothers, which in 1906 was the largest

soap manufacturer in Britain. By 1922 it was one of the largest

international companies in the world. Made of bronze and polished granite, the obelisk is about 18m high and the four

figures at the base are about 2.1m high. The figures are intended to represent Industry, Charity, Education and Art,

Lever’s qualities and interests.  

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The Port Sunlight museum, housed in the former Girls’ Club, was fascinating, depicting the history of Lever Brothers with life sized figures of workers, teachers and products.

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A home next to the museum is furnished in exactly the same was it would have been when lived in during the 1880’s. 

Lever Brothers prided themselves on the fact that they manufactured the purest of soaps and a £1,000 reward was offered by the company to anyone that could prove otherwise. That’s a lot of money nowadays, never mind the value in 1931, but the company knew no one would claim!

Some of the ornate doors, walls and windows of houses in Port Sunlight.

The Lyceum was built in 1894–96, originally a school for the growing community of Port Sunlight and was used as a place of worship until the church was built. It later acquired the name of the Lyceum, and as of 2009 was used as a social centre. 

Community socializing is still strong in the area and the lawn bowls team were taking advantage of the good weather! 

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On the walkway to the gallery is an analemmatic sundial. A horizontal  sundial that has a vertical gnomon (the part that casts a shadow) and hour markers positioned in an elliptical pattern.


In the case of this one, a human being takes on the role of gnomon. The size of the hour marker ellipse is constrained by human height and the latitude of the sundial location – since the human gnomon shadow must fall on the hour marker ellipse to accurately indicate the time of day.


By standing on the month stone and facing the ellipse, the time will be where the shadow is cast across the hour pillars. In British summer, the inner circle of pillars is used and in the winter it’s the outer circle.

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On my way to the station, I came across the Hillsborough Memorial garden. Unveiled in August 1989, it was the first memorial built in memory of the 96 Liverpool Football Club fans that went to watch the FA Cup semi-final game on 15 April 1989…… and never got to go home. 

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I meandered through the streets and onto a walkway in a lovely park-like area. Watching a youngster walking with her very energetic dog, I wondered who was getting the most exercise! He just wanted to chase after

his ball and waited eagerly for her to throw it! 

I headed past the original Lever Brothers factory and up to the railway station and got the train to the home of friends of mine. I had a very important first-time-meeting to attend. And what a pleasure it was too! 

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This pink granite drinking fountain

was built and funded by employees of Lever Brothers,in 1899. It commemorates the Silver Wedding anniversary of Lord Leverhulme and his wife, and the life and influence of his parents, James and Eliza Lever. 

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Their first baby and what a little doll! She made herself quite comfortable on my shoulder while I chatted to her mom! 


Then it was time to head back to my cosy pad, and an early night. I had planned a visit to the Chester Zoo and it was huge so lots of walking anticipated. 


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One response to “Same area, new territory, exploration time #1 – the origins of an old faithful!”

  1. Cheryl Wilkinson says:

    Very interesting! Beautiful pics Sue! Love the new born one too :o)

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