By Annie Williams
The area of Port Sunlight, CH62, is an intimate village and suburb within Wirral, Merseyside. The village is located between Lower Bebington and New Ferry, in Wirral South. Port Sunlight contains 900 Grade II listed buildings and was declared a Conservation Area in 1978.
Each of the 900 homes within the village are unique in style and set on almost identical boulevards. The estate is home to mostly cottages and terraces with some semi-detached and few detached home.
Properties within the area were initially built for workers of the Unilever building, which is still a main feature of the area today. Until the 1980s, all residents in Port Sunlight were employees of Unilever.
Market values: Housing prices are fairly similar throughout the estate, depending on house style. Semi-detached houses are priced (on average) at £180,000-£250,000. Terraces and cottages at £100,000-£230,000. As for rentals, a typical three-bed cottage averages at £625 pcm.
The population of Port Sunlight as a whole is older than the national average. The population of Port Sunlight is also older than the average, making Port Sunlight an older person’s location. (Table from 2011)
Though a small suburb, locals are not short of options when it comes to schools. The village is in a great location for both primary and secondary education, with many within walking distance.
Local Primary Schools (Within a mile)
Church Drive Primary School
Grove Street Primary School
St Andrew’s CofE Aided Primary School
St John’s Catholic Junior School
Brackenwood Infant School
Brackenwood Junior School
Woodslee Primary School
St Anne’s Catholic Primary School
Town Lane Infant School
Local Secondary Schools (Within a mile):
St John Plessington Catholic College
Wirral Grammar School for Boys
Bebington High Sports College
Wirral Grammar School for Girls
Prenton High School for Girls
Arts and Culture
Gladstone Theatre – The Gladstone Theatre in Wirral’s Port Sunlight is one of the most historic buildings in this beautiful garden village. Originally built as the Lever Brothers staff dining hall, it was converted into a theatre in the 1950’s.
Lady Lever Art Gallery – One of the great buildings in Port Sunlight is the Lady Lever Art Gallery. A keen art collector, William Hesketh Lever travelled all over the world and liked to show the villagers the art he collected.
Opened in 1922 by Princess Beatrice, the art gallery shows Lever’s collection and modern-day artwork. The collection includes a range of furniture, paintings, sculptures and ceramics.
War Memorial – Another feature of the village is the war memorial by Goscombe John. Located in the village centre, the memorial pays tribute to the soldiers that died in World War I
Port Sunlight Museum – In 2016, the Port Sunlight Museum, part of Port Sunlight Village Trust, won the Wirral Attraction of the Year Award for the second year running. The Port Sunlight Museum and Garden Village offers unique insight into the life of the villagers and workers of Port Sunlight, durng the late 1800’s and early 1900’s.
The area is served by both Bebington and Port Sunlight railway stations, on the Wirral Line of the Merseyrail network. There are regular train services to Chester, Ellesmere Port and to Liverpool via Birkenhead.
Council – MPs and Councillors
Alison McGovern, Labour candidate, is the MP who represents Wirral South
The following graphs represent the crime statistics reported in Port Sunlight throughout December 2017.
199 crimes were reported within Port Sunlight, Merseyside, CH62 5EP.
Port Sunlight was designated a Conservation Area in March 1978. The Village is an innovative, planned settlement conceived by William Lever in order to house the workers of his nearby soap and chemical works. It has an international reputation as an early and classic example of English philanthropy, which combined a concern for sanitary living conditions with the objective of providing an attractive, landscaped suburb for the working classes. The Village still represents a residential environment of rare quality within the built-up area. The objective of Policy CH9 is, therefore, to retain and preserve essential elements in the “planned” form, layout and architectural detail of the Village. This especially includes the formal layout of open spaces which provide the setting for prominent publi” buildings, such as Christchurch and the Lady Lever Art Gallery. Policy CH9 also provides for the primarily domestic character and scale of the Village to be preserved and for the historic factory frontage to be retained as a continuing reminder of the purpose and history of the Area.
Home to multiple famous faces and significant spot for iconic moments, Port Sunlight is more than a picturesque village. Hulme Hall was the venue for drummer Ringo Starr’s official debut as a member of The Beatles on 18 August 1962. It is also the site of the band’s first ever-broadcast interview. The interview was with local disc jockey Monty Lister and recorded for Radio Clatterbridge on 27 October 1962.
Fiona Bruce, host (2008 to present) of the long-running British television show Antiques Roadshow grew up in Port Sunlight. In her introduction to an episode of the programme (Series 35 Episode 2) that was set in the village, she stood in front of the house in which she lived as a child and explained that her father was a managing director of a division of Unilever.
Other notable people:
- William Owen, (1846-1910), architect, collaborated in the construction of Port Sunlight
- Thomas Bartley, (1874-1951), footballer, played at Port Sunlight
- James Wootton-Davies, (1884-1964), politician, worked as a chemist in Port Sunlight
- Arthur Herbert Procter, (1890-1973), Victoria Cross recipient, educated in Port Sunlight
- Arthur Charles Evans, (1916-2011), author, employed at Lever Brothers
- Mary Wilson, Baroness Wilson of Rievaulx, (1916-), wife of Prime Minister Harold Wilson, employed at Lever Brothers
- Sean Hughes, (1946-1990), politician, employed at Unilever
- Jim Molyneux, footballer, born in Port Sunlight
- Pete Burns, (1959-2016), singer-songwriter, television personality, born in Port Sunlight