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Unilever Art, Archives and Records Management

The custodians of Unilever’s history and heritage

Lifebuoy boy 1900

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.

To discover more about our rich history, browse our interactive timeline.

Access our collections

If you need to access specific records, collections or information from Unilever’s history, consider the list below and follow the instructions provided.

Please note we are unable to accommodate any research visits until after 17th September 2018 due to office renovations. Any bookings made from 17th September will be subject to the completion of the renovations.

I need to...

...find out about a person who used to work at Unilever or a related company

Lever House Productivity Department 1955

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.

To start your search, check our online catalogue to see if any records relate to your enquiry.

To have the best chance of identifying the person you are looking for, email archives@unilever.com with as much of the information below as possible:

  • employees 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

West wing Lever House 1912

We have a search room and library 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.

To request an appointment for research at the archives, please download and complete the Research Request Form below, and email it to archives@unilever.com

Research Request Form (DOCX | 350KB)

...find an image

Sunlight soap package

We hold a variety of images from Unilever’s past, including brand advertisements, promotional shots, maps and plans.

Note that requests to reuse or reproduce images are considered on an individual basis, however, images can be provided for personal use.

To start your search, check our online catalogue to see if any records relate to your enquiry.

To have the best chance of identifying the image you are looking for, email archives@unilever.com with as much information as possible.

...discover more about the history of a Unilever brand or product

Lipton Honest Tea 1913

To discover more about Unilever’s rich history, explore our interactive timeline or download The Formation of Unilever brochure (PDF | 2MB).

If you can’t find the information you’re looking for, email archives@unilever.com with as much information as possible on your query.

...discover Unilever’s Annual Reports and Accounts

Testing raw materials for Sunlight products

Find annual reports going back to the company’s foundation in 1929 from the archive of Unilever’s Annual Reports and Accounts.

We also hold a series of Annual Reports and Accounts that cover the whole of Unilever’s history from 1891 to the present day.

If you can’t find what you are looking for online, please contact us at archives@unilever.com.

...get help with something else

If you have general query relating to Unilever, careers or current products and services, contact the Unilever helpdesk using Unilever contact form.

Other ways to connect

Volunteer at Unilever Art, Archives and Records Management

UARM Volunteer week 2017

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 have an active volunteer programme that welcomes applications from people from all backgrounds and skill levels.

Placements are available for one day per week over 8-10 weeks or on a full-time basis over 1-2 weeks depending on availability.

Recent volunteers have been involved with cataloguing a large collection of photographs used in Unilever publications over the years. Full induction, training and supervision is provided.

If you are interested in volunteering, please email archives@unilever.com.

Donate Unilever artefacts

Colmans Mustard Double Superfine

We welcome donations of artefacts or records from members of the public. If you have an item or collection you wish to donate, please email archives@unilever.com with details of the item you hold.

William Lever Speeches

First Lord Leverhulme

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 allow William Lever’s voice to be heard once more by conserving and digitising 39 of his published speeches.

To access his speeches, please visit the online archives.

Designated status

Arts Council England recognition

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.

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