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Issue:- Saturday, 1 August 2015

Village Trust announces purchase of Founder's home in Port Sunlight
Photos with thanks to Port Sunlight Museum Collection.

THE Port Sunlight Village Trust, the charity responsible for conserving and promoting the industrial garden village of Port Sunlight, has announced that it has just completed on the purchase of Bridge Cottage.

Bridge Cottage is 1 of the largest and most architecturally significant in Port Sunlight. It is thought to have been built for the creator of the Lever Brothers Empire William Hesketh Lever who lived there on occasion between 1893 and 1900 while his primary residence in Thornton Hough was being renovated.

Maggie Sparks Chair of Trustees, Port Sunlight Village Trust said:- "We are thrilled to have secured the purchase of Bridge Cottage. Trustees have long held an ambition to own the cottage and to share its rich history and heritage with our visitors as part of the Port Sunlight Museum experience."

Bridge Cottage has been continuously occupied by someone of important standing within the village and factory communities since 1900, including the schoolmaster, gallery curator, an eminent Dutch scientist, and the Lever Brothers company secretary. During the First World War it functioned as a crèche for women working in the factory and in the 2nd World War it suffered bomb damage after a land mine was dropped close by. More recently, the cottage has been home to the ministers of Christ Church, until it was sold to Port Sunlight Village Trust in July 2015.

Maggie continued:- "To turn it into a visitor experience will require careful consideration and significant investment. It is a large 5 bedroomed, Grade II Listed property, which has been altered, repaired and modernised over the last 122 years by subsequent occupants and caretakers."

Paul Harris Chief Executive, Port Sunlight Village Trust said:- "In the short term, we have decided to open the cottage to visitors as a pilot project thanks to a small amount of grant funding from the Arts Council's Sustainable Improvement Fund. We want village visitors and residents to help us decide how best to use and interpret the cottage. We are also taking the opportunity to test out some other ideas including artists' studios and an improved arts and crafts retail offer in the village."

Paul added that:- "In the 1st Phase of the pilot project, Bridge Cottage will open in August and September, taking in the main summer season and national Heritage Open Days. Visitors will find out about the lives of the people who lived in the cottage, the architects Douglas and Fordham, and building conservation issues in Port Sunlight today, through guided tours, live interpretation and an exhibition. They will also be able to watch village artists demonstrating their craft and purchase some of their work."

Bridge Cottage will open on Saturday, 1 August 2015, from 1.00 to 4.00pm. Entrance is free. For information about opening times and dates, contact Port Sunlight Museum on:- 0151 644 6466 or visit:- PortSunlightVillage.Com.

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