Sunlight for the unwashed
in ‘So clean’
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This chapter contains essays on William Hesketh Lever in the context of factory paternalism and town planning. At Port Sunlight, Lever replicated the attempts by earlier paternalists to create a happier, fitter, stronger, more productive, less fractious work force and provided a small-scale but replicable answer to urban blight. If Port Sunlight was an attempt to do something about labour relations and the bleak state of towns, it was also good advertising copy. It smiled out of Lever Brothers' posters, a radiant, gleaming, sun-blessed idyll. When he moved into his first soap factory at Warrington, initial success rapidly encouraged expansion. Lever was not only a (short-lived) director at Letchworth and a trustee at Hampstead Garden Suburb, but he made key speeches to conferences of housing and municipal authorities about his town-planning ideas.

‘So clean’

Lord Leverhulme, soap and civilization


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