William Lever, 2nd Viscount Leverhulme

Last updated

Viscount Leverhulme in 1938 Viscount Leverhulme, President of the International Committee of Scientific Management, 1938-09-19 LCCN2016874019 (cropped).jpg
Viscount Leverhulme in 1938

William Hulme Lever, 2nd Viscount Leverhulme, DL (25 March 1888 – 27 May 1949), was the son of William Hesketh Lever and Elizabeth Ellen, daughter of Crompton Hulme of Bolton.

Contents

He was educated at Eton College and graduated from Cambridge University (Trinity College) in 1913 with a master's degree in the Arts. [1] [2] William Hulme Lever spent his early years at Thornton Manor which he inherited after his father's death in 1925.

Family

He married twice. His first wife was Marion Beatrice Smith (6 July 1886 – 30 August 1987), [3] daughter of Bryce Smith and whom he married 13 April 1912 and divorced in 1936. They had three children: Elizabeth Ruth Lever was born 9 April 1913 and died 16 April 1972; his son Philip William Bryce Lever, 3rd Viscount Leverhulme, was born 1 July 1915 and died 4 July 2000; his second daughter Rosemary Gertrude Alexandra Lever was born 23 April 1919 and died 16 October 1994. [3] He married Winifred Agnes Lloyd, daughter of Lt. Col. J. E. Lloyd, on 20 January 1937.

Business

The 2nd Viscount Leverhulme was a co-founder of Unilever in 1930. His company, Lever Brothers, merged with Margarine Unie that year.

Masonic movement

Due to the merger of the two firms, many staff employed at the Warrington factory were moved to London, including senior managers. This had the effect of disturbing attendance at the Masonic lodges in the Lever Brothers factory town, and as a result a new lodge was formed named the Mersey Lodge, no. 5434. The Petition to form Mersey Lodge was signed by the Master and Wardens of the Royal Alfred Lodge on 8 September 1933. As a result, Mersey Lodge was consecrated on 19 January 1934. [4]

Belgian Congo

Lever Brothers operated from the Belgian Congo beginning in 1911. In response to civil unrest by the Congolese, the company "demanded more troops, more police and more brutality. When the railway lines around the Congo River rapids were rebuilt between 1923 and 1932 the regime mobilised 68,000 forced labourers of which 7,700 died". [5] Due to their involvement with the Belgian Congo, there was a stark contrast to how the Leverhulmes are remembered at home in England.[ citation needed ]

Legacy

United Reformed Church of St Andrew and St George, Bolton

The 2nd Viscount Leverhulme's parents married at the United Reformed Church of St Andrew and St George in Bolton, on 17 April 1874. In 1936, William, 2nd Lord Leverhulme, paid for many improvements to the church, including widening the chancel and providing choir stalls, a communion table and a pulpit. He arranged for a new marble floor and the communion dais was finished with polished Hopton Wood stone. The chancel walls and the organ gallery were lined with carved Austrian oak panelling. He paid for two stained glass windows, one illustrating the ‘Parable of the Talents’ in memory of his father, and another, ‘The Resurrection Morning’, in memory his mother. [6]

Appointments and honours

Coat of arms of William Lever, 2nd Viscount Leverhulme
Leverhulme Achievement.png
Crest
A trumpet fesswise thereon a cock Proper charged on the breast with a rose as in the arms.
Escutcheon
Per pale Argent and barry of eight Or and Azure two bendlets Sable the upper one engrailed in sinister chief a chaplet Gules and in the dexter base a rose of the last leaved and seeded Proper.
Supporters
On either side an elephant Or charged on the shoulder with a rose Gules.
Motto
Mutare Vel Timere Sperno (I Scorn To Change Or Fear) [7]

Death

Lord Leverhulme died on 27 May 1949 and is interred with his parents at Christ Church in Port Sunlight. A valuable bust, by Sir Charles Wheeler, of William, 2nd Viscount Leverhulme, was stolen in 2009 from the plinth near his parents' tombs in Christ Church, Port Sunlight. It is feared it may have been melted down for scrap. [8]

Related Research Articles

Lever Brothers UK consumer staples company

Lever Brothers was a British manufacturing company founded in 1885 by two brothers: William Hesketh Lever, 1st Viscount Leverhulme (1851–1925), and James Darcy Lever (1854–1916). They invested in and successfully promoted a new soap-making process invented by chemist William Hough Watson. Lever Brothers entered the United States market in 1895 and acquired Mac Fisheries, owner of T. Wall & Sons, in 1925. Lever Brothers was one of several British companies that took an interest in the welfare of its British employees. Its brands included "Lifebuoy", "Lux" and "Vim". Lever Brothers merged with Margarine Unie to form Unilever in 1929.

Lady Lever Art Gallery Art museum in Wirral, England

The Lady Lever Art Gallery is a museum founded and built by the industrialist and philanthropist William Lever, 1st Viscount Leverhulme and opened in 1922. The Lady Lever Art Gallery is set in the garden village of Port Sunlight, on the Wirral and one of the National Museums Liverpool.

Port Sunlight Model village and suburb in the Metropolitan Borough of Wirral, Merseyside, England

Port Sunlight is a model village and suburb in the Metropolitan Borough of Wirral, Merseyside. It is located between Lower Bebington and New Ferry, on the Wirral Peninsula. Port Sunlight was built by Lever Brothers to accommodate workers in its soap factory ; work commenced in 1888. The name is derived from Lever Brothers' most popular brand of cleaning agent, Sunlight.

Leverhulme Trust British foundation

The Leverhulme Trust is a large national grant-making organisation in the United Kingdom. It was established in 1925 under the will of the 1st Viscount Leverhulme (1851–1925), with the instruction that its resources should be used to support "scholarships for the purposes of research and education."

William Lever, 1st Viscount Leverhulme English Industrialist, Politician and Imperialist

William Hesketh Lever, 1st Viscount Leverhulme, was an English industrialist, philanthropist, and politician. Having been educated at a small private school until the age of nine, then at church schools until he was fifteen; a somewhat privileged education for that time, he started work at his father's wholesale grocery business in Bolton. Following an apprenticeship and a series of appointments in the family business, which he successfully expanded, he began manufacturing Sunlight Soap, building a substantial business empire with many well-known brands such as Lux and Lifebuoy. In 1886, together with his brother, James, he established Lever Brothers, which was one of the first companies to manufacture soap from vegetable oils, and which is now part of the British multinational Unilever. In politics, Lever briefly sat as a Liberal MP for Wirral and later, as Lord Leverhulme, in the House of Lords as a Peer. He was an advocate for expansion of the British Empire, particularly in Africa and Asia, which supplied palm oil, a key ingredient in Lever's product line. His firm had become associated with forced labour and atrocities in the Belgian Congo by 1911.

Viscount Leverhulme

Viscount Leverhulme, of the Western Isles in the Counties of Inverness and Ross and Cromarty, was a title in the Peerage of the United Kingdom created in 1922 for the industrialist and philanthropist William Lever, 1st Baron Leverhulme. He had already been created a baronet, of Thornton Manor in the parish of Thornton Hough in the County of Chester, in the Baronetage of the United Kingdom in 1911, and Baron Leverhulme, of Bolton-le-Moors in the County Palatine of Lancaster, in 1917, also in the Peerage of the United Kingdom.

Rivington Village in Lancashire, England

Rivington is a village and civil parish of the Borough of Chorley, Lancashire, England, occupying 2,538 acres. It is about 6 miles (9.7 km) southeast of Chorley and about 8+12 miles (13.7 km) northwest of Bolton. Rivington is a rural area consisting primarily of agricultural grazing land, moorland, with hill summits including Rivington Pike and Winter Hill within the West Pennine Moors. The area has a thriving tourist industry centred around reservoirs created to serve Liverpool in the Victorian era and Lever Park created as a public park by William Lever at the turn of the 20th century, with two converted barns, a replica of Liverpool Castle and open countryside. Rivington and its village had a population of 109 at the 2011 Census.

Thornton Hough Village in England

Thornton Hough is a village on the Wirral Peninsula, in Merseyside, England, of pre-Conquest origins. The village grew during the ownership of Joseph Hirst into a small model village and was later acquired by William Lever, founder of Lever Brothers, the predecessor of Unilever. Thornton Hough is roughly 10 miles (16 km) from Liverpool and 12 miles (19 km) from Chester. Administratively, it is part of the Clatterbridge Ward of the Metropolitan Borough of Wirral and is in the parliamentary constituency of Wirral South.

Bolton School Independent school in Greater Manchester, England

Bolton School is an independent day school in Bolton, Greater Manchester. It comprises a co-educational nursery, co-educational infant school, single sex junior schools and single sex senior schools including sixth forms. With over 2,400 pupils, it is one of the largest independent day schools in the country.

Philip Lever, 3rd Viscount Leverhulme

Philip William Bryce Lever, 3rd Viscount Leverhulme was a British peer and racehorse owner.

Edward Horton Hubbard was an English architectural historian who worked with Nikolaus Pevsner in compiling volumes of the Buildings of England. He also wrote the definitive biography of John Douglas, and played a part in the preservation of Albert Dock in Liverpool.

Thornton Manor Historic manor house in Thornton Hough, UK

Thornton Manor is a large manor house in the village of Thornton Hough, Wirral, Merseyside, England. It is recorded in the National Heritage List for England as a designated Grade II* listed building. The house was first built in the middle of the 19th century and has been altered and extended in a number of phases since. From 1888 to the end of the 20th century the house was occupied by the Viscounts Leverhulme.

The Manor of Rivington at Rivington in Lancashire, England was the past feudal means of control over land with manorial rights above and below ground. The manor history commences 1212 when the Pilkington family owned six oxgangs of land. Records are within a book Leverhulme sponsored, authored by William Fergusson Irvine using the same sources as an earlier work by Harland, the antiquarian who had inspected the Rivington Deeds and Documents, at Rivingon Hall in 1864. The manor was divided in moieties and in the 16th century the Pilkingtons of Rivington Hall owned a 5/8 share, the Cromptons who later occupied the Hall are reputed to have sold their share to William Hesketh Lever in 1900. Lever in turn agreed compensation for the majority of his freehold at Rivington from the Liverpool water company through the Liverpool Corporation Act 1902, the act makes no mention of the manor and there is no record of any later sale of manorial rights by Leverhulme or his heirs. Other owners of shares included a quarter owned in the past by the Lathoms of Irlam and an eighth owned by the Shaw family. The manor was not voluntarily registered under the Land Registration Act 2002 and resultingly no reference is made to it in modern title deeds. There are no manorial records at the National Archive.

Inverforth House

Inverforth House is a large detached house at North End Way on the outskirts of Hampstead in the London Borough of Camden, NW3. Owned by William Lever, 1st Viscount Leverhulme from 1904 to 1925, The Hill was bought by Andrew Weir, 1st Baron Inverforth after Leverhulme's death in 1925, and following was given to Manor House Hospital after Inverforth's death in 1956. Inverforth House was home to the Orthopaedic Society Hospital from the 1950s to the 1980s, and was converted into two houses and seven apartments in the late 1990s.

Leverhulme Memorial

The Leverhulme Memorial stands to the west of the Lady Lever Art Gallery on the junction of Windy Bank and Queen Mary's Drive, Port Sunlight, Wirral, Merseyside, England. It commemorates the life of William Lever, 1st Viscount Leverhulme, the businessman who created the factory and model village of Port Sunlight. The memorial was designed by James Lomax-Simpson, and the sculptor was William Reid Dick. It consists of an obelisk with a figure on the top, with a separate group of four figures beside it. The memorial was unveiled in 1930. It is recorded in the National Heritage List for England as a designated Grade II listed building.

Port Sunlight War Memorial

The Port Sunlight War Memorial stands in a central position in the model village of Port Sunlight, Wirral, Merseyside, England. The founder of the village and employer of its residents, William Lever, was anxious to have a memorial to commemorate those of his workers who had been lost in the First World War. As early as 1916 he commissioned Goscombe John to design a war memorial, which was completed and unveiled in 1921 by two of his employees. It consists of a granite runic cross with bronze statues and reliefs and has the theme "Defence of the Realm". On the memorial are the names of all of the company's employees who died as a result of both World Wars. It is recorded in the National Heritage List for England as a designated Grade I listed building.

William Owen (architect) English architect

William Owen was an English architect who practised in Warrington, which was at that time in Lancashire, England. His works were confined to Northwest England. Owen is best known for his collaboration with William Lever in the creation of the soap-making factory and associated model village at Port Sunlight in the Wirral Peninsula. Here he designed the factory, many of the workers' houses, public buildings and the church. Later Owen was joined by his son, Segar, as a partner. On his own, or in partnership, Owen designed houses, churches, banks, public houses, an infirmary, a school, and a concert hall.

Port Sunlight is a model village in Wirral, Merseyside, England. It contains 195 buildings that are recorded in the National Heritage List for England as designated listed buildings. Of these, one is listed at Grade I, the highest of the three grades, and the others are at Grade II, the lowest grade. There are no buildings listed at Grade II*.

Hulme Hall, Port Sunlight Event venue in Port Sunlight, Wirral, England, formerly also a music venue

Hulme Hall in Port Sunlight, on the Wirral Peninsula in Merseyside, England, is a Grade II listed building, first registered as such in 1965.

Huileries du Congo Belge (HCB) was a subsidiary of the soap manufacturing company Lever Brothers, created by William Hesketh Lever, which ran plantations in the Congo for the production of palm oil, using forced labour. It was established in 1911, when the soap manufacturer received a concession from the Belgian government for 750,000 hectares of forest in the Belgian Congo, mostly south of Bandundu. By 1923, a Lever soap factory was built there, and by 1924 SAVCO was established. It was the nucleus of the United Africa Company, a principal supplier to the United Kingdom of several key commodities. From 1951 it was producing Lux soap.

References

  1. LEVERHULME, 2nd Viscount, Who Was Who, A & C Black, 1920–2015; online edn, Oxford University Press, 2014
  2. History of Thornton Manor
  3. 1 2 "Lord Leverhulme (William Hesketh Lever)". Links in a Chain: The Mayors of Bolton. Bolton Town Hall. n.d. Retrieved 14 June 2018.
  4. "Mersey Lodge 5434". Mersey Lodge 5434. Retrieved 7 July 2011.
  5. Kimber, Charlie (September 2008). "Lord Leverhulme's Ghosts". Socialist Review. Retrieved 15 June 2018.
  6. The United Reformed Church of St Andrew and St George, Its Origin and History (PDF)
  7. Debrett's Peerage. 1921. p. 557.
  8. Murphy, Liam (3 July 2009). "Priceless bust of Lever stolen from memorial; Bronze sculpture may be melted down for scrap". Daily Post. Liverpool. Retrieved 15 June 2018 via Free Online Library.
Peerage of the United Kingdom
Preceded by Viscount Leverhulme
1925–1949
Succeeded by