own soap opera
Sale of late Lord Leverhulme's home and treasures set
to rival Mentmore
Thornton Manor, the historic Wirral home of the late Lord Leverhulme,
is to be put up for sale and is expected to fetch in the region
of £4 million.
London-based FPD Savills and Smith Gore is marketing the Grade II
Listed property which, they say, has a number of possible uses,
including residential development, hotel and conferencing, or educational
and institutional occupancy.
The death of the third and last Lord Leverhulme occurred in July
2000. He was eighty-five and left more than £31 million in
his will. He is survived by three daughters.
Thornton Manor, a Victorian Gothic-style house built in the 1840s,
will be sold together with cottages, stabling, gardens and more
than 125 acres of parkland. The remainder of the Thornton Manor
Estate, including most of Thornton Hough village, is to be retained
by the Leverhulme family.
The contents of the manor which will run into thousands of lots
are to be sold by Sotheby’s at a three-day sale in May.
According to a spokesman, it could be the most significant house
contents sale since that of Mentmore, in Buckinghamshire, the former
home of the Victorian Prime Minister, Lord Rosbery, which realised
£6.3 million in 1977.
The family fortune stems from William Hesketh Lever, the first Viscount
Leverhulme and the creator of Sunlight Soap. This was the first
commercially packaged soap and it led to Lever building Port Sunlight
village to house his workers. It became one of the most famous examples
of a garden and industrial village.
A keen student of architecture, Lever employed over thirty architects
to build Port Sunlight, amongst them a then little-known young man,
Edward Lutyens. The result was a heady mixture of all varieties
of architecture, with plenty of open spaces and flowering gardens.
Lever was also passionate about art and antiques and he created
the Lady Lever art gallery at Port Sunlight. It is said that Lever
bought more art objects in his lifetime than anyone else on earth.
Upon his death, the art gallery was given to the nation.
The first Levers’ soap was manufactured in Warrington by William
and his brother James. The company moved to Port Sunlight, on Bromborough
Pool, in 1888 when William also bought Thornton Manor.
He went on to become the first industrialist to create a mutilnational
company and it survives today under the name of Unilever.
William Hesketh Lever died in 1925.
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