[ HISTORY ] [ 3. REALISATION ] [ C. INSPIRING VISTAS ]
 


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Lever was involved in the development of the village at every level. The first plans were his own and he travelled extensively looking for new ideas, at home and on the continent. He considered that " the life of the people, in all town planning, must be the first consideration" and that this should be achieved without the sacrifice of what he called " beauty and inspiring vistas." (note 5) By 1909, there were 700 houses, 700 of which were occupied by Lever's employees. There were two types of cottage - the kitchen type and the parlour type, the latter having a large living room and one bedroom more than the former. There were no cellars and every home had a bathroom. Taking this and the attention paid to design into consideration, these houses far exceeded the average for contemporary working-class house design. W.L George, who carried out a survey of the village experiment, although he had some criticism of it, concluded that " taking them all round, the cottages are the best possible for a working man." (note 6) The rents varied from 5 shillings to 6s 3d per week for the kitchen cottages and 7s 6d to 10 shillings for the parlour houses, both including rates. The rents were reasonable, representing a quarter to a fifth of the average weekly wage. The minimum wage was guaranteed at 22 shillings per week, but most workers earned more.


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