Hesketh Hall, one of the conservation village’s principal buildings, is being converted into 13 residential apartments using a £1.8m commercial loan from NatWest.
Port Sunlight village was founded in 1888 by William Hesketh Lever to provide decent living conditions for the workers in his soap factory: Sunlight was the Lever Brothers’ most popular brand of cleaning agent.
The village, which is based on a 56 acre site in the Wirral in the North West of England, contains 900 Grade II listed buildings, and the Port Sunlight Village Trust is responsible for conserving and maintaining 250 houses, eight principal buildings, the museum and green spaces.
When Hesketh Hall was left vacant and in need of repair earlier this year, the Trust worked with Claire Sedgwick, Senior Relationship Manager at NatWest’s Liverpool office, to secure funding to enable the regeneration of Hesketh Hall into residential accommodation.
Grade II listed building
Lionel Bolland, Chief Executive Officer of Port Sunlight Village Trust, said: “We were faced with a real challenge. Having already spent a great deal of time and energy on conserving the Village’s principal grade II listed buildings, Hesketh Hall was the last building that needed our intervention. With the help and support of NatWest, we are now able to complete a crucial phase of work to help secure a sustainable future for the Village.
“We hope that the re-development will also benefit the neighbouring district, New Ferry, by encouraging the local economy and helping to revitalise the area.”
Lever personally supervised planning of the village, and employed nearly 30 different architects. Between 1899 and 1914, some 800 homes were built to house a population of 3,500 people – the Sunlight employees and their families.
The garden village had allotments and public buildings and amenities included an art gallery, cottage hospital, concert hall, open air swimming pool, schools, church and a temperance hotel.
Claire Sedgwick, Senior Relationship Manager at NatWest, said: “Port Sunlight Village is a significant part of our national heritage and it is vital that we do all that we can to conserve it for our future generations.”
NatWest is committed to helping business customers achieve their ambitions, and is training all bank managers to support this through its accredited Certificate in Credit programme.