Unilever launches app in celebration of 125 years

Unilever Archives– the Port Sunlight-based team of archivists responsible for preserving the company’s history – today has launched Unilever’s first corporate history app, Port Sunlight: Walking with William Lever, as part of the celebrations marking 125 years since William Lever began building the Port Sunlight works.

The app enables village visitors and enthusiasts to conduct self-guided tours of Port Sunlight as it stands today by using a 1914 map from the archive collections. It introduces the history and development of Lever Brothers Ltd and shows how the corporate values of William Lever were built into life in the factory and village.

It also showcases William Lever’s commitment to research and quality in his products, as well as some of his innovative and unusual marketing initiatives.

More than 40 rare film footage clips and in excess of 350 photographs, documents and objects from the archive collections are built into the app and present a unique opportunity to explore the village and Unilever’s early heritage while touring the Grade II listed village.

GPS functionality is built into the app to ensure that visitors do not get lost while on a choice of two walking-tour routes. However, all of the locations on the app can also be explored remotely through a free roaming option.

Jeannette Strickland, Head of Art, Archives and Records Management at Unilever says, “Port Sunlight is the historic home of Unilever and when colleagues visit the village from around the UK and internationally, the Archives team is flooded with requests to give tours of Port Sunlight, and unfortunately it simply isn’t possible to show everyone around. However, now we can make some of our archives material accessible not just to employees, but anyone who wants to know more about this wonderful village.

“People can explore, either in person or from the comfort of their homes, the village that Lever built for his workers and learn more about its unique history.”

Port Sunlight, which is now a home to both a large laundry detergent factory and global R&D centre for Hair, Laundry, Deodorants and Household Care, began life as a factory for the production of Sunlight Soap in 1888. It was built by William Lever, the son of a Lancashire grocer, who decided to specialise in selling individually wrapped bars of household soap. His company Lever Brothers Ltd soon became a worldwide soap producer which laid the foundations for Unilever’s global business.

The Port Sunlight: Walking with William Lever app for iPad and iPhone is now available for free download using a wifi connection here:

For those with an interest in the village, a dedicated Facebook page has been created, www.facebook.com/PortSunlight125, bringing together people with a connection to the village to celebrate 125 years of life and work in Port Sunlight since the Sunlight Soap factory was built on the site in 1888.

For more information:

About Port Sunlight

Port Sunlight is the historic home of Unilever and was the vision of William Hesketh Lever, later the 1st Viscount Leverhulme. Born in 1851 in Bolton, Lancashire, the son of a grocer, he prospered in the family business. In 1884 he decided to specialise in selling individually wrapped bars of household soap and came up with the brand name “Sunlight”. When successful sales meant that production outgrew its first location in Warrington, Lever chose what we now call Port Sunlight as the location of his new factory, due to its proximity to road, rail and water transport.

Today around 2,000 Unilever employees are based in Port Sunlight which is still home to a home care factory, a global research and development facility and business support teams. In 2014 a new world-class personal care factory and hub will open on site, meaning approximately one third of the Unilever UK workforce will be based in the village.

About Unilever

Unilever is one of the world’s leading suppliers of Food, Home and Personal Care products with sales in over 190 countries. Our products are present in 7 out of 10 homes globally and are used by over 2 billion people on a daily basis. We work with 171,000 colleagues around the world, and we are on track to generate annual sales of €50 billion in 2012. 

Over half of our company’s footprint is in the faster growing developing and emerging markets (56% in 2011). Working to create a better future every day, we help people feel good, look good and get more out of life. Our portfolio includes some of the world’s best known brands such as Knorr, Persil , Dove, Hellmann’s, TRESemmé, Lipton, Sure, Wall’s and Lynx.

Our ambition is to double the size of our business, whilst reducing our overall environmental footprint (including sourcing, consumer use and disposal) and increasing our positive social impact. We are committed to helping more than a billion people take action to improve their health and well-being, sourcing all our agricultural raw materials sustainably by 2020, and decoupling our growth from our environmental impact. Supporting our three big goals are more than 50 time-based targets. See more on the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan at www.unilever.com/sustainable-living.

For more information about Unilever and its brands, please visit www.unilever.co.uk.

Katya Bridges - UK and Ireland Media Relations Manager

T: 01372 945925
M: 07785 450287


Explore more on these topics:

Back to top


We're always looking to connect with those who share an interest in a sustainable future.


Get in touch with Unilever PLC and specialist teams in our headquarters, or find contacts around the world.

Contact us