Port Sunlight not chosen for UK’s World Heritage Site Tentative List
The village of Port Sunlight has not been chosen to join the UK’s Tentative List for World Heritage Site inscription, following a bid submitted last year.
Port Sunlight in Merseyside was the nineteenth century creation of William Lever to provide healthy, comfortable housing with beautiful architecture and surroundings for ‘Sunlight Soap’ factory workers. It is considered to be one of the finest surviving examples of an industrial worker village. Port Sunlight is noted for its significant influence on the design of ‘garden villages’ around the world and its emphasis on providing beauty for all.
Today, Port Sunlight is home to over 900 Grade II listed houses and public buildings, a world class art gallery, museum, beautiful gardens and parkland, and a thriving community.
Following many years of encouragement and desire by the local community and politicians to have Port Sunlight’s importance recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, a bid was submitted in July 2022.
The bid was in response to the UK Government’s open call and put together by Port Sunlight Village Trust, with support from strategic partners Wirral Council, National Museums Liverpool and Unilever.
This included consultation with Port Sunlight’s communities as well as significant research, which formed the basis of the bid.
By being chosen to join the list, it was hoped to have Port Sunlight recognised amongst other similar worker settlements such as Saltaire and New Lanark.
Despite not being selected, Port Sunlight Village Trust and its partners have vowed to build on the research, partnership working and community engagement that went into the bid.
If there is support for Port Sunlight to submit another bid to join the UK’s Tentative List in the future, the next opportunity to do this is likely a decade away.
Paul Harris, Chief Executive at Port Sunlight Village Trust, said:
“Despite the disappointing news that Port Sunlight has not been selected for the UK’s new Tentative List, the research and collaboration with our community and stakeholders that went into shaping our bid has been incredibly valuable in understanding Port Sunlight’s importance, both in the past and today. We will continue to build on this and ensure Port Sunlight remains an inspiring and accessible place to live, work and visit for generations to come.
“We would like to thank our community, stakeholders, visitors and strategic partners – Wirral Council, National Museums Liverpool and Unilever – for their support. Our belief in Port Sunlight’s global value has not been diminished and we will continue to protect and promote the village, which played such an influential role in the development of healthy, beautiful communities for working class people around the world.”
Alongside Port Sunlight’s bid, another unrelated bid was also put forward for nearby Birkenhead Park to be added to the Tentative List. It was announced on Monday 10 April that Birkenhead Park have been chosen.
Paul Harris continued:
“We would like to sincerely congratulate Birkenhead Park on their successful bid to be added to the UK’s Tentative List. It’s a big moment for the Wirral, not only for the area’s heritage to be recognised globally but also for our local communities who care so deeply about the special places on their doorstep.”
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Notes to Editors
Brian Pilkington, Marketing and Communications Manager
T: 0151 644 4800
About Port Sunlight and Port Sunlight Village Trust (PSVT):
Port Sunlight is the UK’s finest example of an industrial worker village and early Garden City planning. The founder William Lever changed industry’s attitudes to ordinary workers. He also helped to create a healthier nation by encouraging and promoting washing and good hygiene practices.
PSVT is a charity, private landlord, and custodian of this incredible place. Our vision is to make “Port Sunlight, an inspiring place to live, work and visit”. You will find us maintaining the village’s public art, Increasing biodiversity, working with residents to care for their Grade II Listed homes, promoting wellbeing and community cohesion, and educating, inspiring and entertaining people of all ages through our museum, learning programmes, and events. Our work and decisions are underpinned by our values – creativity, passion, knowledge, integrity, respect, and participation, and a total commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion, and environmental sustainability.