Port Sunlight is a model village suburb on the Wirral Peninsula near Cheshire. We spent a day exploring the picturesque village and taking in some culture at the Lady Lever Art Gallery.
Port Sunlight was built in 1888 by the Lever Brothers to house the workers of their thriving soap factory, some of you may be familiar with Sunlight Soap?
Port Sunlight contains an incredible 900 Grade II listed buildings, walking around it’s like walking into a classic English period drama. Port Sunlight is perfectly maintained with razor sharp manicured lawns, two bowling greens, fabulous flowerbeds and lots of green communal space for the residents to enjoy such a pretty village.William Lever personally supervised the planning of the village, including allotments, a cottage hospital, the Lady Lever Art Gallery, schools, concert hall, an open air swimming pool, church and temperance hotel as well as 800 houses were built to house 3,500 residents. Lever championed education and entertainment among his workforce and encouraged recreational organisations that promoted art, science, literature and music.
Walking around it’s impressive to see such a unique array of properties that sit together so beautifully. Each block of houses was designed by a different architect. The back of the houses cannot be seen from the road and each house is unique in terms of architectural features, so different to the identikit Victorian workers terraces in Yorkshire and Lancashire!
Opened by Princess Beatrice in 1922 The Lady Lever Art Gallery was designed to house Lever’s art collection. Today the art gallery has a brilliant selection from the traditional collection right through to the modern-day pieces including furniture, paintings, sculptures and ceramics. Walking up to the huge art gallery it reminded me of some of the buildings in Washington, America with the large columns and grand scale.
Following our jaunt around the Lady Lever Art Gallery we headed to the only pub in the village and enjoyed the sunshine. Walking around the village I couldn’t help but feel like I was featuring in an episode of Mid Sommer Murders and half expected to bump in to Detective Inspector Barnaby.
If you’re a history lover looking for a fascinating step back in time I’d recommend a day out in Port Sunlight, if you’re into art then the Lady Lever Gallery is well worth a visit too.