A Day in the Sunlight

The May association meeting was brought forward to the last Day of April which saw some of the members spending a lovely day visiting Port Sunlight Village on the Wirral. It was indeed a day in the sunlight as the weather was perfect for visiting such a splendid setting with its superb gardens, museum and of special interest: Lady Leverhulme art Gallery.

Lady Leverhume Art gallery

Lady Leverhume Art gallery

The village was built in the early 1900’s by Viscount Lord Leverhulme, philanthropist, ‘soap king’ and Freemason. He was one of the most successful UK businessmen who created the first global company to be established in the United Kingdom. His strict upbringing and benevolent attitude to those around him helped create Lever Brothers which specialized in producing soap products. He created the Port Sunlight village to house, educate and to take his own work force out of poverty. At a time when many others gave scant regard to the welfare of its employees.

Upon arrival the brethren accompanied by their good ladies met with the current MAMR President Allan Shields for coffee in the museum cafe before taking a tour of the museum, one of the houses and watching a 20 minute film show which gave a very informative summary of Leverhulme’s upbringing in Bolton and the story behind how he formed Lever Brothers.

The MAMR visitors gather in front of the museum

The MAMR visitors gather in front of the museum

A most enjoyable light lunch was taken in the art gallery cafe. A hearty serving of ‘Scouse’ was enjoyed by those who wanted to try some traditional Liverpool local cuisine. A brief meeting took place to take care of the items of business of the Association including the proposal of two new members.

John Acaster (right) with John Belton in the shop

John Acaster (right) with John Belton in the shop

Leverhulme built the gallery in memory of his late wife Elizabeth after whom it was named. It contained his large collection of art which he wanted to make available for everyone to share.The gallery was later to be the home to lodge meetings in a room which had a secret entrance used when candidates were being initiated. It was also to house Leverhulme’s Masonic collection which includes regalia, jewels, and ceramics.

Viewing three chairs in the former Lodge room of the gallery

Viewing three chairs in the former Lodge room of the gallery

The door on the picture on the left is the secret entrance to the lodge room with the entry being via the doorway behind the dresser seen in the right hand picture

The door in the picture on the left is the secret entrance to the lodge room with the entry being via the doorway behind the dresser seen in the right hand picture

Taking a close look at Leverhulme's masonic collection

Taking a close look at Leverhulme’s masonic collection

While some of the Masonic collection is on public view, many items are currently being collated and prepared by curator David Moffat, who was on hand to show the members of MAMR some of the treasures.

Masonic firing glasses and jugs

Masonic firing glasses and jugs

They were able to view old manuscripts, aprons, collars as well as charging glasses and ceramics. An hour was spent looking at these wonderful artifacts that at the moment are not on public view a rare opportunity for continued research for which Dave was thanked.

Left to right, Ivan Eastwood, Phil Myers, David Moffat (curator), John Belton and John Acaster

Left to right, Ivan Eastwood, Phil Myers, David Moffat (curator), John Belton and John Acaster

The weather was perfect and as the brethren toiled among the treasures the ladies enjoyed the delights of a stroll in the beautiful gardens that surround the museum and gallery. The emerging researchers joined them and concluded a really most enjoyable and informative field day meeting.

For a great day out, a visit to Port Sunlight is well recommended by MAMR.

Visit: http://portsunlightvillage.com/ for more information