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Nos 1 and 2 Manor Cottages and Boundary Wall

A Grade II Listed Building in Clatterbridge, Wirral

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Latitude: 53.3293 / 53°19'45"N

Longitude: -3.0521 / 3°3'7"W

OS Eastings: 330027

OS Northings: 381890

OS Grid: SJ300818

Mapcode National: GBR 7Y4Y.08

Mapcode Global: WH87L.2LW1

Entry Name: Nos 1 and 2 Manor Cottages and Boundary Wall

Listing Date: 15 January 2009

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1393092

English Heritage Legacy ID: 505099

Location: Wirral, CH63

County: Wirral

Electoral Ward/Division: Clatterbridge

Parish: Non Civil Parish

Traditional County: Cheshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Merseyside

Church of England Parish: Thornton Hough All Saints

Church of England Diocese: Chester

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Listing Text

1755/0/10047 MANOR ROAD
15-JAN-09 Thornton Hough
(West side)
Nos1 and 2 Manor Cottages and boundary wall

Semi-detached estate workers' cottages for Thornton Manor estate. c.1873. Rock-faced red sandstone, ashlar dressings, Welsh slate roof, terracotta ridge crest, cast-iron rainwater goods. Simplified Gothic style. 2 1/2 storeys.

EXTERIOR: Set alongside Manor Road to N of main house. Front (E) elevation: 2-bays, symmetrical in appearance, no.1 to left, no.2 to right. 6-light mullion and transom windows to ground floor. Cross windows to first floor partly set within gabled dormer windows, timber lattice fretwork between bargeboards to gable apex. All windows with decorative stained glass to upper lights. Ashlar surrounds to all windows, quoined to lower part. Slightly projecting ashlar band between ground and first floors incorporates first floor sills, contains inscription to centre of elevation reading 'Manor Cottages'. Two flush ashlar bands to ground floor. Banding continues around to all elevations. Large cross-shaped stack to centre of ridge. Left (S) side elevation: Overhanging eaves with lattice fretwork to gable apex in same style as that to front elevation dormers. Cross window to attic level with stained glass upper lights, surrounded by vertical and horizontal ashlar banding bordering rock-faced stone laid at angles, which gives appearance of timber framing. Small square ashlar panel at first floor level with shield relief displaying letters 'TBF'. Early-mid C20 enclosed porch with pitched slate roof attached to ground floor, plain timber door to S side with 6 small glazed lights to upper part. Right (N) side elevation: Identical styling to S side elevation, ashlar panel with shield relief displays date '1873'. Off-centre doorway to ground floor with ashlar surround incorporating chamfered reveals and shaped head, plank and batten door. Small single storey outhouse projects outwards from rear right of no.2 with pitched slate roof, stone copings, tiled ridge crest, stack to W end, doorway to partial E gable wall (S half of E gable wall attached to rear of no.2), narrow casement window to N side elevation. S elevation of outhouse faces into small rear yard with doorway to W end flanked by 2-over-2 sash window to right, narrow 2-light window to left. Open storage lean-tos along S side of yard continue into yard to no.1. Rear elevation of cottages: 4-bays, 2 and 4-light casement windows to first floor of both cottages, 2-light casement stair window to right bay of no.1 at half-landing level, timber lean-to attached to ground floor of both cottages; that to no.1 is enclosed with door and windows; that to no.2 with open W side.

INTERIOR: Symmetrical plan form with two rooms to ground floor (no.1 with additional enclosed lean-to to rear), two bedrooms and bathroom to first floor, bedroom to attic. Original steep timber dog-leg stairs alongside side external walls between ground and first floors with plain newel posts, stick balusters. Straight flight with winder between first floor and attic to both cottages. Cast-iron fireplaces with timber surrounds (possibly reclaimed) to front ground floor rooms, chimneybreasts to front first floor rooms. Original panelled doors throughout. Timber floorboard floors, tiled floors to kitchens.

SUBSIDIARY FEATURES: Low random rubblestone boundary wall with triangular-shaped copings surrounding cottages to front and S side, gate piers with pyramidal finials.

HISTORY: William Hesketh Lever was born in 1851 in Bolton, Lancashire. After training in his father's grocery business from the age of 16 he was made a junior partner in 1872, and a year later he expanded the business to a second premises in Wigan. From these twin bases Lever further expanded the company's activities into manufacturing soap, first at Warrington and eventually at Port Sunlight. By this time the company had become 'Lever Brothers', established with his brother James (although William was always the lead partner). The company went on to possess factories and mills around the world including the Congo, as Lever expanded the business into the production and processing of raw materials, and eventually diversified into other areas. Lever Brothers became one of the largest multinational companies in the world during the late C19/early C20, and is still in operation today as Unilever.

William Lever was a Liberal MP, social reformer, and a pioneer of good worker-employee relations. He introduced the 8 hour working day, and provided a pay policy greater than any other company in the country. In 1905 he also provided pensions for his staff (3 years before they were introduced by the government in 1908). Lever Brothers was also one of the first companies to employ a full-time safety inspector and company doctor, and to provide respirators and a rota system for workers working in dusty conditions. Decades before it became a legal requirement Lever Brothers had introduced alarms and sprinklers in all their departments and had their own voluntary ambulance and fire brigade. The staff were also taken on day and weekend trips in Britain and in Europe.

William Lever built Port Sunlight model village for his workers, which included a planned landscape of houses with gardens, allotments, large open spaces and parks (ten years before Ebenezer Howard's plans for a Garden City), shops, a hospital, school, post office, sports facilities, church, dining halls, a public house, the Lady Lever art gallery, and a library. The children of Port Sunlight and Lever's junior staff were required to attend school and devote time to education (paid for by Lever Brothers) including languages, science, engineering, accountancy, maths and English literature, even though by law school was only compulsory up to the age of 10.

Lever was created a Baronet in 1911. In 1917 he was made a Lord and took the title of Lord Lever of Bolton-le-Moors. Finally in 1922 he was created Viscount Leverhulme (adding the surname of his wife Elizabeth Hulme who had died in 1913). He died at The Hill (his London home) on the 7th May 1925 shortly after returning from a world tour and inspection of his business interests.

Thornton Manor is believed to have been constructed in the c.1840s/50s, but was not lived in until 1863 when it was bought by the Forwood family. William Lever rented it in 1888 when it was still a relatively modest Victorian villa, as it was located close to his business at Port Sunlight. He bought the manor in 1891 and immediately started expanding and remodelling it as his largest and main residence (works that went on for the next 25 years). Thornton Manor formed an important part of the business of Lever Brothers as well as a family home, as Lever often worked at the house, held meetings there, and entertained staff at dinners, parties, and garden parties/fairs. Thornton Manor was officially given over to his son in 1919, although it remained as Lever's principal residence until his death.

Nos.1&2 Manor Cottages were built in c.1873 and are believed to have been originally used as semi-detached workers' cottages for the Forwood family's Thornton estate. After the estate was purchased by William Lever he added timber lean-tos, and a small range of outhouses to the rear of the cottages creating a small yard area. The last Lord Leverhulme died in 2000 and the house, cottages (including nos.1&2 Manor Cottages), stabling, gardens and 125 acres of parkland were sold, although the remainder of the Thornton Manor Estate, including the village of Thornton Hough, was retained by the Leverhulme family. The cottages were redecorated in c.2007, and are now used as holiday accommodation.

REASONS FOR DESIGNATION: Nos.1&2 Manor Cottages are designated at grade II for the following principal reasons:

* They form a key component of Viscount Leverhulme's extensive late C19/early C20 country estate of Thornton Manor that retains its main house, stable and garage court, associated lodge and cottages, and gardens
* They are an interesting survival of late C19 estate workers' cottages whose design is above the purely functional
* Their exterior is finely detailed with timber fretwork, decorative stonework imitating timber framing, and stone mullion and transom windows incorporating stained glass upper lights
* Externally the cottages are well preserved and the interiors retain some original features, such as original panelled doors, stairs and flooring
* They have group value with the main house and other listed buildings on the estate

This text is from the original listing, and may not necessarily reflect the current setting of the building.

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