[ ARCHITECTURE ] [ PUBLIC BUILDINGS ]
to remedy the lack of cohesion he saw in other communities by providing
extensive facilities for the cultural, sporting and domestic needs of
the villagers. Gladstone Hall, built by William Owen in 1891, simple and
economical, was the first assembly and recreation hall. Large window areas
are combined with functional cladding of tile-hanging and half-timber.
Lomax-Simpson later added a storeyed porch housing a cinema projection
room. A village shop, now a Post Office, was built by Grayson & Ould in
1891. With the expansion of the village, three shops were built, run on
a co-operative basis (Douglas- Fordham 1894); on the floors above was
a Girl's institute ( later known as the Collegium.) The buildings were
destroyed in the second world war and not replaced. Initially known as
'The Schools', the Lyceum is a good example of Pre-Jacobean style. It's
quasi-religious overtones betray its original use before the church was
built but the building has been put to several uses since. The building
now occupied by the Heritage Centre and NatWest Bank was built in 1896
by Maxwell & Tuke, designers of Blackpool Tower. It has a gabled front
typical of the vernacular revivalism of the villages early days in its
half-timber and bright red brick. Hulme Hall was specifically built as
a girls' dining room later to be used as a museum and art gallery before
the Lady Lever Art Gallery. It wasn't elaborate (neo-jacobean) generously
surmounted by large half-timbered gables but Lever considered it excessively
extravagant particularly in comparison to Gladstone Hall.
Named after the Victoria Bridge (now buried under Bolton Road), the Bridge Inn built in 1900 began as a 'temperance hotel' becoming a public house in 1903. With colour-washed rough cast, its character contrasts with the utilitarian nature of Hulme Hall next door. Public buildings in Port Sunlight have served multi-purpose roles,undergone changes such as enlargements and structural alterations. In 1902, William and Segar Owen built the gymnasium and open air swimming baths, both no longer in existence. The gymnasium was timber-framed and weather-boarded dismantled in 1910 and put beside the swimming baths, both no longer in existence. The most notable building of this period is the Technical Institute (now Hesketh Hall.) Talbot used spectacular 17th century domestic elements - pargetted gables, an oriel with arched middle light, a half-octagonal bay and a frieze with highly decorative panels. Also of this period are the Church Drive school and the first stage of the now demolished Auditorium, with a fully equipped stage and proscenium and the Cottage Hospital built by Grayson & Ould. In 1913, Lomax-Simpson built the Resident's Club (originally Girl's Club.) Imposing Jacobean windows front a formal classical building facing the Lady Lever Art Gallery. Christ Church ( William & Segar Owen 1902 - 1904) is rendered in red cheshire sandstone in a Neo -Perpendicular style of the late phase of the gothic revival. The church reflects Lever's love of medieval churches but indulges his eclectic tastes for rich architecture. A structure to mark his future burial place was designed soon after - Lever's effigy lies alongside his wife's The War Memorial, unveiled in 1921, another work of Goscombe John, is the site of the focal point of the village. It represents 'defence of the home' with soldiers guarding women and children - a granite structure adorned with bronze sculpture. The crowning glory of the village, the Lady Lever Art Gallery is a testament to the architects skill that they managed to blend the building in with its domestic surroundings; Lever ensured the scale and height was restricted. Although roughly representative of Beaux Arts classicism, it reflects Lever's fascination with the World Fair in the 1890's and the classical movement in America.