[ HISTORY ] [ 1. FOUNDER ] [ A. INTRODUCTION ]
 


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WH Lever with Willam Gladstone at the opening of the Gladstone Hall (now the Gladstone Theatre) in 1891.
Image courtesy of the Gladstone Theatre Trust.


William Hesketh Lever was born on 19th September 1851 at Wood Street, Bolton, in a comfortable middle-class district of Georgian houses - which still survive today.

Image of Wood Street,
Bolton courtesy of

bolton.org.uk

This was hardly true of much of Bolton which the Industrial Revolution had transformed from a picturesque Lancashire town to what was descibed by Frederich Engels as third only to Preston and Oldham for squalor and living conditions.

The growth of the factory system and the increase in population caused by the demand for labour coupled with the influx of Irish immigrants led to the most unhealthy and insanitary living conditions, disease and filth. The sight of such wretchedness and poverty was to leave an impression on Lever which was to influence him in the future.


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