JAMES LEVER 1809-1897


by Edward Onslow RA

A marble version of the present bust

is in the Lady Lever Art Gallery, Port

Sunlight (LL708). It seems that only

six bronze examples of the bust were

cast; one other is in the Port Sunlight Heritage Centre; one in the possession of Gilliam Blumson (nee Paul); one in the possession of Peter Tillotson

JAMES LEVER 1809-1897

]ames Lever, son of ]ames Lever, counterpane manufactuer in Bolton, was born there in 1809. He was educated at Rivington Grammar School as the apprentice to ]ohn Brimelow, a Bolton grocer.

In 1831 he became manager of the new Manchester branch of Sheldon &  Sons in Swan Street. While working in Manchester he married Eliza Hesketh, daughter of a cotton mill manager. He returned to his native Bolton where he managed the retail grocery of Stones & Hesketh which he purchased in 1864 when it became 

Lever & Co. They lived in Wood Street. It was in this hugely successful mercantile environment  that their ten children grew up. Their elder son William was later to become Lord Leverhulme; James Darcy was William's business partner; Mary married William Tillotson, founder the Bolton Evening News and  ]ane, married the secretary of Lever Brothers, John Smith Fergusson.

James Lever moved to Harwood Lodge, a substantial country house near Bolton, only leaving there in 1894 to Hesketh Grange, which had been built by his  son near the village of Thornton Hough. He died in 1897 


Elizabeth Hesketh (1822-1893) - married 1839


Elizabeth Ruth (1840-1899) - married William Greenslade

Emma (1841-1920) - married John Spencer Howarth

Mary (1843-1918) - married William Tillotson

Jane (1845-1936) - married John Ferguson

Emily (1847-1939)

Alice (1849-1944)

William Hesketh (1851-1925) - 1st Viscount Leverhulme

James Darcy (1854-1910) - married Annie Kershaw

Harriette (1855-1946)

Lucy Anne (1858-1944) - married Alexander Paul