The Lady Lever Art Gallery was built for the residents of Port Sunlight village and opened in 1922. At the time residents were workers in William Hesketh Lever's soap factory. Over the years the village has changed but retained a strong community at heart. It's no longer a requirement for village residents to work for the factory and villagers come from all walks of life.
Ian Robertson, a regular visitor to the Gallery and current resident, writes on how the village and Lever's collection have inspired him.
"I first started with photography when I was around four years old. I wasn't at the age for playing in the sand or kicking a ball. I was more interested then in watching nearly everything with a camera. I would wait for the right moment, just for the light to change or for the shadow to move. The older and the braver I got, the deeper I got in to photography.
I have lived in Port Sunlight village for fifteen years and am still finding my way around the place. I have taken more photographs than I used to.
At first the Lady Lever Art Gallery wasn't quite the thing for me, but then I started noticing more. The Lady Lever has been my local gallery for over ten years and means a lot to me. Whenever you visit the Gallery you are welcomed and treated with warmth and kindness.
For any amateur photographer, the Lady Lever Art Gallery is a great place to visit. It houses one of the finest collection paintings and sculptures in Europe. My personal favourite is the statue of Salammbo in the South End galleries. I have taken countless photos of her in different levels of sunlight through the dome of the roof and in all kinds of weather. I have photographed the statue from different angles and using all kinds of lenses from a 200mm zoom to an wide-angle. Each of the shots is different in light and shadows.
"The South End is the part of the gallery that I wait for with great anticipation when it re-opens to the public on 25 March 2016, Good Friday. I’ll be ready to start taking more pictures when the galleries re-open. Port Sunlight is a great place to take a camera. There are a number of places get a great shot including from the Leverhulme Memorial, to the fountain and right the way to the village war memorial. Having my eyes opened by regularly visiting the gallery, I am grateful to the man behind it all, William Hesketh Lever. He was right when he said,
"Art can be an inspiration to us all".
Join Ian in discovering the new South End galleries from Friday 25 March 2016. Open daily 10am to 5pm, Free entry. (Closed 25, 26 December and 1 January).
All images copyright Ian Robertson.