It was purpose built by Lord Leverhulme/William Hesketh Lever starting in 1888 for the employees of Lever Brothers soap factory (now part of Unilever). The name is derived from Lever's most popular brand of cleaning agent, Sunlight.
Port Sunlight contains 900 Grade II listed buildings, and was declared a Conservation Area in 1978. It is also being put forward for World Heritage Site status to protect it from development and to preserve the unique character for future generations.
Unusually for a suburb, it became the basis of a musical. This production, called The Sunshine Girl, opened in 1911 at the Gaiety Theatre, London. It starred Phyllis Dare, one of the most popular pin-ups of the Edwardian era, and was written by Paul Alfred Rubens. The show introduced the tango dance to British audiences.
Each block of houses was designed by a different architect. You cannot see the backs of any of the houses and each house is unique. Until the 1980s all residents were employees of Unilever and their families. It was during the 1980s that the houses were first sold privately. The former school is now a working men's club.
Port Sunlight is the birthplace of 1980s music personality Pete Burns, member of the band Dead or Alive.
One of the great buildings in Port Sunlight is Lady Lever Art Gallery. William liked to collect art. He travelled all over the world and liked to show the villagers the art he collected - this is why he built Lady Lever Art Gallery. The gallery was opened in 1922 by Princess Beatrice. Now the art gallery shows William's collection as well as some modern-day artwork. This collection includes a range of furniture, paintings and sculptures.