Drawn Together.

New Port Sunlight Village Trust project receives National Lottery boost

Port Sunlight Village Trust (PVST) has received a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for a new project, Drawn Together, it was announced today. Made possible by National Lottery players, PSVT and four North West project partners will create a digital archive of original drawings for Port Sunlight village. The documents, which include over 4000 original plans and detail drawings, illustrate founder William Lever’s vision for Port Sunlight, an industrial model village for his workers and the artistic and physical development, expansion and evolution of the village over a span of 70 years.   Led by PSVT, this is the first phase of a digital archive which will bring together for the first time both the project partners and the holdings from four collections: Unilever, Art Archives and Records Management (UARM), Wirral Archives, Bolton Library & Museums Service and National Museums and Galleries on Merseyside (operating as National Museums Liverpool (NML)). A catalogue of the drawings will be created and a selection of drawings from each of the project partners will be digitised.

Katherine Lynch, Director of Heritage at PSVT comments;

“We’re absolutely delighted that HLF has invested in this exciting project. Together with our partners, we will be able to improve access to these drawings, giving a real opportunity for people across the UK and around the world to connect with Lever’s vision for Port Sunlight. The drawings include designs from 30 different architectural practices. These designers translated Lever’s vision into a picturesque workers’ village that remains a desirable place to live, work and visit today.

“The PSVT Team are looking forward to using the digital archive to improve understanding of the village and to engaging with both professionals and the local community through a programme of events and talks. We know from experience that original drawings support residents in their efforts to restore or improve their Grade II listed homes, so we hope improved awareness of the plans and access to them will improve Port Sunlight’s heritage. The digital archive will also serve as a valuable research tool for learners of all ages.”

Claire Tunstall, Head of Unilever Art, Archives and Records Management comments;

“We are delighted to be a partner in the creation of this amazing digital archive, especially as this year marks 130 years since the first Sunlight Soap was boiled at our factory and the first residents moved into Port Sunlight Village. Unlocking access to these collections is an important step in both preserving the heritage of Port Sunlight Village but also increasing awareness and understanding of William Lever’s legacy.”

An on-line exhibition of drawings from the digital collection will be available on portsunlightresidents.com and portsunlightvillage.com by Autumn 2019. The digital archive will be

available at PSVT and the four project partners in December 2019. The catalogue of Port Sunlight drawings will be available on-line through a national archives database.

Image: 1. Photograph of an original drawing for 31-35 Corniche Road, Port Sunlight, by architect Jonathan Simpson (1850-1937), 1899. The original is held by Bolton Library and Museum Services and is reproduced with their kind permission.

Image 2. 31-35 Corniche Road, Port Sunlight, 2019. By Port Sunlight Village Trust