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CUSSONS SALFORD ERA ENDS
 

Star date: 21st February 2010 

PZ CUSSONS FACTORY IN KERSAL MEETS THE BULLDOZERS

The bulldozers have now moved in to demolish the first ever Cussons soap factory in the country. Acquired in 1909 as a bleach mill and opened as the home of soap in 1920 the building, which shut a few years ago, will be wiped from the landscape in a few weeks taking with it many memories from the Salford people who worked there...

Full story and photos here…


PZ Cussons Factory Kersal Salford PZ Cussons Factory Kersal Salford PZ Cussons Factory Kersal Salford
PZ Cussons Factory Kersal Salford PZ Cussons Factory Kersal Salford PZ Cussons Factory Kersal Salford
PZ Cussons Factory Kersal Salford PZ Cussons Factory Kersal Salford PZ Cussons Factory Kersal Salford
PZ Cussons Factory Kersal Salford PZ Cussons Factory Kersal Salford PZ Cussons Factory Kersal Salford
PZ Cussons Factory  Salford
click image to enlarge

SOAP STAR

The PZ Cussons building, on the corner of Kersal Vale Road and Moor Lane, never looked much from the outside but it's embedded deep in the Salford psyche – for those who worked there, those who lived near it and those who felt like a million dollars in the bath with a bar of Imperial Leather

The site was acquired originally as a bleach mill by Alexander Tom Cussons in 1909, and in 1920 was opened as the first Cussons soap factory in the country. Tom, like the Clowes family up the road, was totally hooked on collecting orchids and kept his collection of 6000 of the flowers in Vine Street, Kersal, near his Victorian mansion, `Oaklands', on Oaklands Road

The mansion and the collection was destroyed by a bomb in 1941 but the Cussons orchids lived on and were featured in all the early adverts for Imperial Leather soap. According to Cussons' website, the company was one of the first to advertise its brands during the breaks of popular tv dramas, which is where the slang word `soaps' came from. 

In the 70s Cussons Imperial Leather soap, manufactured in Kersal Vale, became a total luxury icon as its posh adverts showed a family of three all relaxing in personalised baths on aeroplanes and stuff. Apparently, Peter Kay said on radio recently that his mum used to only get the Imperial Leather out on special occasions like Christmas Eve.

But if people could have seen the state of the River Irwell which ran alongside the Cussons factory it might well have put them off the classy image of the soap...

With the closure of the Kersal Vale site, PZ Cussons have kept faith in the area, opening a £26million state of the art Innovation Centre around the corner in Agecroft, which produces 100million bottles of soaps and shampoos every year. It's Cussons' only factory left in the UK  and has state of the art research labs attached. 

Meanwhile, the old iconic building is being bulldozed for potential housing development…

Glad to see the back of it? Or sad to see it go? Send us your memories via the Comments box below…

See also the Imperial Leather website…

And more photos of the inside of the factory before the bulldozers got there…

 


 

Richard Williams wrote
at 20:08:31 on 28 November 2017
Hello Again, Someone? OK it was me, wrote that I worked at Cussons from 1975 till 2000 just like to put that right. The correct dates were 1975 to 1980. All the other info remains the same. Good luck in your new factory. Richard
 
Nick Williamson wrote
at 07:50:27 on 27 September 2017
Very happy days working in IT there for a while in the mid-90s. I belonged to the parent company in Whitworth Street but got seconded out to "KV" as it was known from time to time. Fantastic Carp fishing in the on-site pond that had previously supplied water to the factory before soap production moved to Nottingham. I used to go after them with floating crust in my lunch break :)
 
Anne quinn wrote
at 14:59:29 on 11 December 2016
Hi my aunt Mary walker worked at cusson during the 1970s and 1980s and her daughter pat walker during those years ! Does anyone remember(Mary known as maureen ) and pat?
 
David Minshull wrote
at 16:48:28 on 08 July 2016
My mother Lily Minshull, sister Deborah Minshull and Cousin Sandra worked their in the early mid 70s
 
Clifford Smith wrote
at 12:43:35 on 24 November 2015
I remember living at 318 Littleton Rd when I was a boy. At dinner time you couldnt move on the pavement outside our house for all the Cussons girls going for dinner at the nearby shops and at night a convoy of buses picking up workers on there way home. My dad told me how him and my mum used to run and sometimes crawl to the air raid shelters at Cussons during the blitz he was a fireman in the war and often got sent to places like Coventry during the blitz. Happy memories of the Cussons factory shame it's gone.
 
pink poppy wrote
at 20:11:13 on 15 June 2015
Hi, my cousin Raymond Tilly worked at cussons in the mid 70s Also a friend of mine named paul...Did anyone know Raymond
 
Jack Hewart wrote
at 20:06:15 on 03 January 2015
The number 13 bus used to turn round at The Cussons Soap works to head down Littleton Road on its way back to the Salford Bus station,at the bottom of Blackfriers Bridge and across from Alexander Kenyon. I will never forget the funeral of Alexander Tom Cussons,laid to rest in the graveyard of Saint Paul's Church on Moor Lane, The grave is the first on the right as you go through the 2 gates before you get to the main church entrance,this is looking up towards Bury Old Road. I was one of the choir boys from Saint Paul's Churcs that sang at the head of his grave,a big honour for me as I was only 11 years old.If I remember correctly quite a large number of people were there from the factory as the burial took place,I remember my sister Dorothy was present,it's as though it was yesterday.
 
richard williams wrote
at 21:39:38 on 10 June 2014
1975 to 2000 night shift maintenance supervisor. Made many friends working here. Left for Canada February never to return. Apart from leaving the country, leaving Cussons was hard. Great company to work for. Good people at all levels, always leaning something new. Great memories, sorry to see it go.
 
JEAN EDWARDS wrote
at 16:38:10 on 21 November 2012
The Sad Lament of the Soap Works For a hundred years or more thousand have walked through your doors. You made a soap fit for a queen and many more products inbetween. Now your inners are being dismantled sold off my God to those that rankled for your mass-producing assembly lines that ran and ran and ran to time. What of the brook that's by your side, culvet hid to hide the crime of once it ran with colours true and every day smelt of something new. Roses,lavender,bergamot and occasionally frothed like a demented font. Flown away is the flag you proudly flew proclaiming I'm British through and through. Gone are its colours red,white and blue. Fare-well my old friend and a foud adu. Anon 2010
 
Peter Houston wrote
at 04:45:11 on 05 September 2011
I went to school at St Paul's in Moor Lane in the '50s. We had school trip to Cussons factory once. Afternoon tea was laid on for us and we all received a Disney character soap in a presentation box. Mine was Donald Duck. I don't know what happened to it but it's long gone. Used to live at The Flat in the grounds of Oaklands and didn't know until reading this article that it used to be owned by the Cussons family.
 
Jane wrote
at 15:32:20 on 06 June 2011
Hi, we are trying to work out where the Cussons factory was. My Aunty Eva (Linney) worked there from at least the early 1960's. She lived in Leight Street and we think she walked to works. My sister and me remember the the mickey mouse soap as well. She died in about 1966/7 but was only aged 54. Can anyone help please.
 
roy bullen wrote
at 12:57:59 on 22 January 2011
Hi i have mickey Mouse soap in the box it came in,i bought from a shope in 1952 as a christmas present for my mother.could you please tell me what it could be priced ay now or if it might be a collecters piece. Regards Mr Bullen
 
Jim Devine wrote
at 05:38:33 on 09 January 2011
Cussons P Z Ltd Aviator Way, Manchester M22 5TG 0161 435 1000 ‎ Hope this helps, Andrea.
 
Andrea Colombo wrote
at 07:26:30 on 08 January 2011
Dears Sirs, Who could contact to a PZ Cussons to obtain more soap information. Your help will be very much appreciated, Thanks and Regards. Andrea - ITALY 39 338 5263407
 
beryl wrote
at 22:21:54 on 04 March 2010
I started working at Cussons in 1967-1972. In those days everyone had to work really hard for their money. Official breaks were 10 minutes for a teabreak and 5minutes for a toilet break. Woe betide you if you went over. One of the supervisors (anyone who worked in the Soap room will know who) would come in the toilets, stopping at each one to smell for cigarette smoke. God help you if she caught you. Lizzie was right about the buses but it wasn't just the smell off the overalls, a lot of people had bars of soap secreted about them. The bus drivers would rev the engines so everybody would run and loose some of their swag. We had to have some perks. HAPPY DAYS
 
Lizzie wrote
at 23:04:31 on 28 February 2010
I am really sad to see this factory go. My Auntie Clara used to work there and used to give my sister's and I a novelty soap when she visited. I remember a pale green tortoise shaped soap she gave us each as a child which I was highly delighted with. I have heard that people used to avoid getting the bus at the time the soap factory tipped out because the soap smell from the workers was overpowering. I don't know if that is true or not....
 
wrote
at 15:03:33 on 28 February 2010
Welcom to Salford... Cussons,,
 
LUIS SPITZ wrote
at 17:26:30 on 22 February 2010
Hello SIr/Madam: I have been an avid collector soap related material and follower of soap history, Who could contact to a PZ Cussons to obtain more old and current soap information. Your help will be very much appreciated. Luis Spirz Phone:847.266.1877 in the USA
 
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