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Lord Leverhulme
William Hesketh Lever

Lord Leverhulme
Lord Leverhulme

William Hesketh Lever was born at 6 Wood Street, Bolton on the 19th September 1851.

William was the eldest of two sons in a family of ten children. His parents ran a successful wholesale grocery business in Bank Street, Bolton.

Following a successful business life and the contruction of "Port Sunlight" where the famous "Sunlight" soap was manufactured William, by then Lord Leverhulme, purchased Rivington Manor from the Crompton family in 1900. But insread of living in Rivington Hall, which was the manorial seat, he had a sectional wooden bungalow erected near to his favourite spot on the moorland where he spent many hours during his courtship with his wife Elizabeth Ellen Hulme. He named the bungalow Royston Cottage.

Lord Leverhulme died on the 7th May 1925 but right up to that time he was involved in setting up Rivington as a tourist spot. In September 1901 he made a gift of Lever Park to the people of Bolton and the surrounding district. He retained the 45 acre 'bungalow' site for his own use.

Liverpool Corporation were concerned at the development taking place at Rivington because there was potential for the water supply. They promoted a bill before Parliament which eventually entitled them to obtain the lands owned by Lord Leverhulme by compulsory purchase with the exception of the Bungalow grounds.

The Bungalow grounds remained private. But they had occasional 'open days' when a small charge was made to visit them and the monies donated to charity.

The first sectional bungalow was burned down in 1913 by Edith Rigby, a militant sufragette, from Preston. She was trying to draw attention to the cause she fervently supported. A second bungalow was made of stone and was demolished in 1947.

Lord Leverhulme was made Mayor of Bolton in 1919. His wife had died in 1913 so the position of Mayoress was filled by his daughter-in-law. He died 7th May 1925.

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