History & Archives
Unilever is a business founded on a sense of purpose, and our unique heritage still shapes the way we do business today.
Unilever Art, Archives and Record Management
Located in Port Sunlight, the historic home of Unilever in the UK, the Unilever Art, Archives and Records Management team look after one of the most important collections of business records in the world.
The team are responsible for the collection and management of Unilever’s archives which span several centuries – in fact, our oldest document dates from 1292.
The collections contain original documents, printed sources, images and films, for example, we hold the first advert that was ever aired on television for S. R Gibbs toothpaste.
There are minute books reporting on company board meetings, financial records, a wealth of advertising and examples of packaging, as well as architectural plans and maps of current and former Unilever sites.
Well-known brands, such as Colman’s, Wall’s, Lipton, Persil, Pears Soap, LUX, PG Tips and Marmite, all feature.
I need to...
…find out about a person who used to work at Unilever or a related company
We have a collection of in-house magazines, many of which include articles on long service awards, marriages and obituaries. We hold information cards on Directors and Board members detailing their working career with us. Unfortunately, records of staff for many small subsidiary companies have not survived.
- employee’s full name
- dates of employment
- name of the company they worked for (Unilever or a subsidiary)
- work location
- any details of their position.
...visit Unilever Art, Archives and Records Management
We have a search room in our offices in Port Sunlight that can be used for research.
Please note that visits are by appointment only (between 10:00 to 16:00 Monday to Friday, excluding bank and public holidays) and are dependent on staff being available on site to assist.
...discover more about the history of a Unilever brand or product
...discover Unilever’s Annual Reports and Accounts
…volunteer at Unilever Art, Archives and Records Management
If you are interested in finding out about a career in Archives and Records Management, or if you’d like to learn new skills and gain work experience, we are offering virtual work experience placements. We welcome applications from people from all backgrounds and skill levels. Full induction, support and supervision is provided.
Recently our virtual volunteers have been involved in cataloguing business correspondence from one of our most popular collections. Our placements run for one day per week over an 8-week period.
…donate Unilever artefacts
...access William Lever's Speeches
The Lever-half of the Unilever name has its roots with one of the founding fathers, William Hesketh Lever. He was one of the great pioneers of modern consumerism. He understood the need for innovation, diversification, and adding value through marketing. Many of the values he stood for still have resonance for us as a business today.
We are proud that we can share William Lever’s message once again by conserving and digitising 39 of his published speeches.
...get help with something else
The high standard of the service has been recognised by The National Archives (TNA), and the collections have been recognised as being of international significance through the award of ‘Designated Status’ by the Arts Council England for both the Unilever and United Africa Company collections.
Explore our history
Our timeline shows key dates and landmarks from 1871 to today.