Located in Port Sunlight, the historic home of Unilever in the UK, the Unilever archives are amongst the most important collections of business records in the world.
About the Unilever Archive
The high standard of the archive has been recognised by The National Archives (TNA) and through receipt of “Designated Status” by the Museums Libraries and Archives Council (MLA) for both the Unilever and United Africa Company collections, which recognises the archive as being of international significance.
What the archive holds
The archivists are responsible for the collection and management of Unilever’s archives which span several centuries – in fact, our oldest document dates from 1295.
The archives contain original documents, printed sources, images and films. Well-known companies, such as Colman’s, Wall’s and Lipton, as well as brands such as Persil, Pears Soap, Lux, PG Tips and Marmite, all feature in the archive.
There are minute books, financial records, a wealth of advertising and examples of packaging, as well as architectural plans and maps to name just some of the types of records.
In terms of genealogical sources there are good runs of in-house magazines, many of which carry information about employees, such as long service awards, marriages and obituaries.
Also, in its early years, Lever Brothers ran a Co-partnership Scheme, which gave employees and their dependants a share of the company profits, and there are detailed card indexes to those in the scheme. Unfortunately, records of staff for many of the smaller subsidiary companies have not survived.
How to contact the archive
The archive team are happy to answer your questions. To find out more about our important archive collections, what historical records we hold, and how you can use them, you can contact the archive in a number of ways:
By telephone from the UK – 0151 641 4551
By telephone from overseas – +44 151 641 4551
By email: firstname.lastname@example.org
By post: Unilever Archives, PO Box 69, Port Sunlight, Wirral CH62 4ZD, UK
Search on line: Unilever-Archives
If you would like to use the archives for research there is a searchroom and library in the archive building in Port Sunlight. Please note that visits are by appointment only between 10.00 and 16.00 Monday to Friday (excluding Bank and public holidays) and are dependant on staff being available to assist. Therefore, researchers should contact the archive in writing in the first instance giving as much information as possible about their research project.