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Our 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

Collage of Unilever photos throughout history

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.

Access our collections

For the safety and wellbeing of visitors and staff in response to the ongoing pandemic, we’ve taken the decision to close the Unilever Art, Archive and Records Management searchroom and library in Port Sunlight until further notice.

We are currently not able to say when we will re-open however we continue to monitor the situation closely. Any updates to our services will be posted on this page.


Staff of Unilever Art, Archives and Records Management remain working mostly from home but still welcome your enquiries. Please be aware that as we are unable to access the collections as normal there may be a delay in our response.


We are not accepting any Research Visit Requests at this time. Researchers may continue to submit their enquiries to us via email, but are advised that access to our collections is currently limited.

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Designated Outstanding Collection Accredited Archive Service

Designated status

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.