Port Sunlight’s War Memorial

Port Sunlight's War Memorial and bronzes

Port Sunlight’s War Memorial – called Defence of the Realm – is recognised as one of the most significant war memorials in the country and is one of the largest in the UK.

The memorial is Grade I listed and is owned and looked after by Port Sunlight Village Trust.

A brief history of the War Memorial

The memorial was commissioned by Lever Brothers Ltd as a monument to the employees who lost their lives in the First World War, with later inscriptions to commemorate Unilever employees and village residents who died in the Second World War.

Designed by Sir William Goscombe John, the memorial was completed in 1921 and consists of a granite cross on an octagonal podium with eleven surrounding figures and twelve relief panels, all cast in bronze.

Port Sunlight’s War Memorial is particularly noted for its bronze figures, which features women and children alongside soldiers. This was seen as unusual at the time, however it is something many visitors appreciate today.

Visiting the War Memorial

You will find the War Memorial in the centre of the village, just a short walk from Port Sunlight Museum and Lady Lever Art Gallery along the Diamond.

It is located in the middle of a road intersection, so please be careful to look out for vehicles when crossing.

In summer and autumn 2023, the War Memorial will not be fully accessible or viewable due to essential conservation work. Find out more about this work below.

Conserving the War Memorial

Protecting the bronzes

In 2023, PSVT will be carrying out essential conservation work to protect the War Memorial for future generations, beginning with its bronze figures and features. From 22nd May, work will begin to clean and wax the bronzes. This is complex and delicate work, so it will take around four weeks to complete.

Portable scaffolding will be in place at different points of the memorial during the work, which means that access onto the memorial may be restricted at times.

Follow us on social media (@PortSunlightVillageTrust on Facebook and Instagram, @PortSunlight on Twitter) to enjoy behind the scenes updates and insights into this fascinating work.

Repairing the stonework

Once the work on the bronzes has been completed, further significant conservation work will take place on the stone structure of the War Memorial. This is to carry out necessary cleaning and ensure the structure is sound for many years to come.

As the work on the stone is much more significant, this will involve partial road closures around the War Memorial. We will update this page and our social media with more information nearer to the time.

Support us

Our conservation work on the War Memorial is an important part of our long-term strategy to maintain and look after Port Sunlight’s monuments, which includes progressing with our plans to repair the Boating Pond.

Would you like to support this important work? You can: