[ HISTORY ] [ 3. REALISATION ] [ B. FIRST BUILDINGS ]
 


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Lever's dream of providing a healthy and pleasant environment for his workers began to materialise. At the end of 1889, not only was the factory complete, but 28 cottage dwelling designed by the same designer of the factory, William Owen of Warrington, were ready for occupation. This was followed by more cottages, larger houses, a shop and the first of the public buildings, Gladstone Hall during 1891 - 2. The style was described by a contemporary observer as 'Old English' and showed promise of demonstrating it was possible to erect a large number of industrial dwellings without their being "hideous in design and grieving in aspect." (note 4) In the next eight years the number of cottages had risen to 278. Architectural styles became more varied and included Flemish and Dutch as well as two cottages which were actual reproductions of Shakespeare's cottage at Stratford-On-Avon. The streets were laid out in continental boulevard style, wide and lined with elm and chestnut trees. A school was provided for the workers' children who numbered 500 at that time. Lever's factory always used a high proportion of female labour and the village institute provided them with classes in such suitable subjects as cookery, dress-making and shorthand. The institute also had a reading room and canteen facilities. The male workers were provided with similar improvement facilites at Gladstone Hall.


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