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Latitude: 53.3281 / 53°19'41"N
Longitude: -3.0521 / 3°3'7"W
OS Eastings: 330022
OS Northings: 381761
OS Grid: SJ300817
Mapcode National: GBR 7Y4Y.0P
Mapcode Global: WH87L.2LWY
Entry Name: No 3 Manor Cottages and Attached Garden Flat
Listing Date: 15 January 2009
Source: Historic England
Source ID: 1393096
English Heritage Legacy ID: 505101
Location: Wirral, CH63
Electoral Ward/Division: Clatterbridge
Traditional County: Cheshire
Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Merseyside
Church of England Parish: Thornton Hough All Saints
Church of England Diocese: Chester
1755/0/10049 MANOR ROAD
15-JAN-09 Thornton Hough
No. 3 Manor Cottages and attached garden
Estate worker's cottage for Thornton Manor estate, c.1891, snecked red sandstone set upon slightly projecting ashlar plinth, ashlar dressings, slate roof, 2 storeys with single storey attached storage/workshop accommodation, situated to NW of main house to rear of stable & garage court.
EXTERIOR: Cottage: Pitched slate roof with end ridge stacks. 3-bays. SE front elevation: Main entrance with 4-panel door to centre of ground floor with rectangular overlight, small lantern above. 2-over-2 sash windows to each side. Two gabled dormers above containing smaller 2-over-2 sashes. Door and windows are slightly recessed with chamfered reveals and lintels. 2-over-2 sash window to first floor rear of right (NE) side elevation. Leaded light windows to left (SW) side elevation (facing rear of NE stable and garage range) and rear elevation. Plank and batten door to left side elevation. Attached flat: Hipped slate roof, dentil eaves cornice. Slightly recessed doorway to far left with chamfered reveals containing 4-panel door. Slender 1-over-1 sash window to right with carved surround. 3-light mullion window to far right with horizontal glazing bars to lights.
INTERIOR: Cottage: Two reception rooms to front of ground floor (now used as bedrooms), large kitchen area to rear (originally separate kitchen and pantry, dividing wall now removed). Original cast-iron range to front right room, replaced fireplaces to front left room and kitchen. Under stair storage area converted into en-suite for front left ground floor room. Straight timber stair flight to left side of ground floor with winder below first floor landing, timber handrail, wide stick balusters to landing, plain newel posts with ball finials. Three rooms, bathroom and en-suite to first floor, original fireplaces with cast-iron hearths. 4-panel doors throughout. Interior of flat not inspected.
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.
No.3 Manor Cottages appears to have been built shortly after William Lever purchased the Thornton manor estate in 1891 (it is depicted on the 1898 historic OS map but not the 1872 map), and it is believed to have been used as an estate worker's cottage. The flat was added in the early C20 and it was probably originally used as ancillary storage/workshop for the cottage. Both the cottage and attached garden flat are used as holiday accommodation and were renovated in c.2007.
REASONS FOR DESIGNATION: No.3 Manor Cottages & its attached garden flat 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, which retains its main house, stable and garage court, associated lodge and cottages, and gardens
* They are an interesting survival of a late C19 estate worker's cottage whose design is above the purely functional
* The exteriors are well preserved and detailed
* The cottage interior retains original features, such as panelled doors, timber stair, and some fireplaces
* They have a strong visual, stylistic and functional relationship with the main house and its attached stable and garage court, and additional group value with 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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