William Lever, 1st Viscount Leverhulme

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William Lever.

William Hesketh Lever, 1st Viscount Leverhulme (19 September 1851 – 7 May 1925) was an English industrialist, philanthropist, and politician.

Quotes[edit]

  • It is my hope, and my brother’s hope... to build houses in which our work-people will be able to live and see comfortable. Semi-detached houses, with gardens back and front, in which they will be able to know more about the science of life than they can in a back slum, and in which they will learn that there is more enjoyment in life than a mere going to and returning from work, and looking forward to Saturday night to draw their wages.
    • Messrs. Lever’s New Soap Works, Port Sunlight, Cheshire. Full Reports of the Ceremony of Cutting the First Sod, and Proceedings at the Inaugural Banquet, 1888, pp.28-29; Cited in: Viscount William Hulme Lever Leverhulme, ‎William Hulme Lever Leverhulme (2d viscount) (1927). Viscount Leverhulme, p. 49
  • My happiness is my business. I can see finality for myself, an end, an absolute end; but none for my business. There one has room to breathe, to grow, to expand, and the possibilities are boundless. One can go to places like the Congo, and organize, organize, organize, well, very big things indeed. But I don’t work at business only for the sake of money. I am not a lover of money as money and never have been. I work at business because business is life. It enables me to do things.
    • William Lever, quoted in C. Wilson, The History of Unilever, London: Cassell, 1954, vol. 1, p. 187; Requoted in Witzel (2004: 166)
  • Aye, nay, we won't argue: you're wrong.
    • William Lever, quoted in: Adam Macqueen (2011) The King Of Sunlight: How William Lever Cleaned Up The World. Phrase he often used with employees — and he never changed his mind.

"Land for House," 1898[edit]

An example of Port Sunlight village architecture
W. H. Lever, "Land for Houses: A Paper Read before the North End Liberal Club, on Tuesday, October 4, 1898"; printed in Birkenhead News, 8 October 1898.
  • A child that knows nothing of God’s earth, of green fields, or sparkling brooks, of breezy hill and springy heather, and whose mind is stored with none of the beauties of nature, but knows only the drunkenness prevalent in the hideous slum it is forced to live in, and whose walks abroad have never extended beyond the corner public-house and the pawnshop, cannot be benefited by education. Such children grow up to depraved, and become a danger and terror to the State; wealth-destroyers instead of wealth-producers.
  • There can be no reason why man should not make towns liveable and healthy... just as much subject to the beneficent influence of bright sunshine, fresh air, flowers, and plants, as the country.

Quotes about William Lever[edit]

  • William Lever was one of the most successful of the late Victorian industrialists, who built up his company from a tiny regional base to become one of the first true multinationals. Described as a ‘born marketing man’, Lever built his success on the back of powerful marketing campaigns and the creation of some of the first internationally recognised brands in consumer goods. He was one of the most respected businessmen of his day, and his management methods were admired and widely imitated in Europe and America. Although he was very much a product of his own time, many of Lever’s business methods seem surprisingly modern, and in terms of abilities and reputation, he compares favourably to such giant figures of modern business as Jack Welch.
    • Morgen Witzel. Fifty key figures in management. Routledge, 2004. p. 181

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