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Soap Collection

From the trenches to the home front, soap played a pivotal role in history

Background imageSoap Collection: The cast of Brookside. From left to right, Sue Johnston (Sheila Grant) Shelagh O

The cast of Brookside. From left to right, Sue Johnston (Sheila Grant) Shelagh O Hara (Karen Grant), Simon O Brien (Damon Grant), Ricky Tomlinson (Robert Grant) and Paul Usher (Barry Grant)

Background imageSoap Collection: Advertising card for Thoms Castile Soap of Manchester

Advertising card for Thoms Castile Soap of Manchester
Advertising card by Louis Wain for the Gold Medal-winning Thoms Castile Soap - the Best in the World - manufactured by David Thom & Co. Ltd. of Pendleton, Manchester

Background imageSoap Collection: Poster advertising Sunlight Soap

Poster advertising Sunlight Soap -- for rest and leisure. Date: early 20th century

Background imageSoap Collection: Advert / Gossage Soap 1900

Advert / Gossage Soap 1900
Gossages Soap - the right sort

Background imageSoap Collection: Wrights Coal Tar Soap - WW1

Wrights Coal Tar Soap - WW1
Advertisement for Wrights Coal Tar Soap from the Great War showing a soldier and his wife or sweetheart bidding farewell to each other

Background imageSoap Collection: Advertisement for Vinolia Soap

Advertisement for Vinolia Soap - Mother! Mother!! Fidos eaten my soap!!! early 20th century

Background imageSoap Collection: Port Sunlight - a workers utopia

Port Sunlight - a workers utopia
Page from The Illustrated London News with photographs reporting on the model factory village of Port Sunlight on the Wirral, near Birkenhead

Background imageSoap Collection: Interior of tramshed, Lytham St Annes, Lancashire

Interior of tramshed, Lytham St Annes, Lancashire
Interior view of a tramshed at Lytham St Annes, Lancashire, showing various trams with advertising material: Jacobs Cream Crackers, Colmans Mustard, Lifebuoy Soap

Background imageSoap Collection: Pears Soap Advertisement

Pears Soap Advertisement

Background imageSoap Collection: Barber shaving a customer with a razor

Barber shaving a customer with a razor
Barber of 1789 shaving a customer, shown in a Pears Soap ad, 1880s. Hand-colored woodcut of a 19th-century illustration

Background imageSoap Collection: The classical Turkish Bath massage and wash inside the Gagaloglu Hamam

The classical Turkish Bath massage and wash inside the Gagaloglu Hamam, Istanbul, Turkey, Europe

Background imageSoap Collection: Carson Speaks 1913

Carson Speaks 1913
Edward Carson, leader of the Irish Unionists (1910-21) speaks out against Home Rule at a meeting in Belfast

Background imageSoap Collection: London - Piccadilly Circus in the 1920s

London - Piccadilly Circus in the 1920s
London - Piccadilly Circus photographed in 1924. The Trocadero is showing Wanderer in the Wasteland - an American colour silent Western film directed by Irvin Willat and starring Jack Holt

Background imageSoap Collection: Advert for Pears soap 1887

Advert for Pears soap 1887
A child steps into a bath tub of hot water helped by her mother 1887

Background imageSoap Collection: Goodwins toilet soap, 1930s

Goodwins toilet soap, 1930s
An advert for Goodwins toilet soap, featuring a smiling young woman holding a tennis racket. 1937-1938

Background imageSoap Collection: PEARS SOAP ADVERTISEMENT. Engraved English advertisement, 1889

PEARS SOAP ADVERTISEMENT. Engraved English advertisement, 1889

Background imageSoap Collection: FRENCH SOAP ADVERTISEMENT. French advertising poster by Jean Carlu, 1925, for Monsavon soap

FRENCH SOAP ADVERTISEMENT. French advertising poster by Jean Carlu, 1925, for Monsavon soap

Background imageSoap Collection: Young woman washing clothes at a sink

Young woman washing clothes at a sink
A young woman at a kitchen sink washing clothes using a washboard. There is a stack of four dinner plates waiting to be washed up, a kettle, and a tin of One-O-One which cleans without scratching

Background imageSoap Collection: Mother Shipton Soap

Mother Shipton Soap
An advertisement for Mother Shipton Soap showing a Wise Woman sitting with her basket of sparkling white linen - almost as white as her pet cat!

Background imageSoap Collection: Advert / Gossage Soap 1900

Advert / Gossage Soap 1900
Gossages Carbolic Soap speaks for itself

Background imageSoap Collection: Woman Shaving Man

Woman Shaving Man
A female barber or barbers assisitant, probably during World War Two, applies shaving soap to a mans face before his shave

Background imageSoap Collection: Advert / Gossage Soap 1900

Advert / Gossage Soap 1900
Gossages Soaps - magical soap Date: circa 1900

Background imageSoap Collection: Main Office Entrance, Port Sunlight

Main Office Entrance, Port Sunlight. Port Sunlight is a garden village which was founded in 1888 by Lever to house his soap factory workers

Background imageSoap Collection: William H Lever

William H Lever
WILLIAM HESKETH LEVER 1ST VISCOUNT LEVER-HULME English soap manufacturer; built (1888-89) model industrial village of Port Sunlight

Background imageSoap Collection: Advert / Wrights Soap

Advert / Wrights Soap
Wrights Coal Tar Soap: Britains Might is (W)right

Background imageSoap Collection: Wrights Coal Tar Soap advertisement, WW1

Wrights Coal Tar Soap advertisement, WW1
Lucky Beggar!...Send a bar to YOUR soldier friend. Advertisement for Wrights coal tar soap with a soldier the envy of all his comrades as he is enjoying a wash with a whole bar sent to him from home

Background imageSoap Collection: Three Little Kittens

Three Little Kittens
The Three Little Kittens are washing their mittens. 19th century

Background imageSoap Collection: Advert / Gossage Soap 1900

Advert / Gossage Soap 1900
Gossages Soap - magical Date: circa 1900

Background imageSoap Collection: Advert / Tidmans Soap

Advert / Tidmans Soap
Tidmans Herbal Skin Soap

Background imageSoap Collection: Advert / Hudsons Soap

Advert / Hudsons Soap
Hudsons Super Soap - just a little better than the rest

Background imageSoap Collection: Advert / Pravia Soap 1916

Advert / Pravia Soap 1916
Elegant Spanish woman in an advertisement for Heno de Pravia soap

Background imageSoap Collection: Advert / Calverts Carboli

Advert / Calverts Carboli
CALVERTs CARBOLIC SOAP for floors

Background imageSoap Collection: Advert / Pravia Soap 1916

Advert / Pravia Soap 1916
Heno de Pravia soap

Background imageSoap Collection: Silver Soap Suds by Cecil Beaton in The Sketch, 1930

Silver Soap Suds by Cecil Beaton in The Sketch, 1930
Miss Baba Beaton, (the photographers sister), the Hon. Mrs Charles Baillie-Hamilton (formerly Miss Wanda Holden) and Lady Bridget Poulett shown as decorative soap suds in a photograph by Cecil

Background imageSoap Collection: Advert for Wrights coal tar soap, 1914

Advert for Wrights coal tar soap, 1914. A print from the Illustrated London News, 13th June 1914

Background imageSoap Collection: Advert for Pears Soap - A Chemist Recommends... 1912

Advert for Pears Soap - A Chemist Recommends... 1912
Advertisement for Pears Soap - A Chemist Recommends the product for its pure, genuine, good value and effective properties! Date: 1912

Background imageSoap Collection: Falmouth Railway Station, Falmouth, Cornwall. Early 1900s

Falmouth Railway Station, Falmouth, Cornwall. Early 1900s
A view of the platform at Falmouth Railway Station with a train in, looking towards the harbour and the town. Photographer: Unknown

Background imageSoap Collection: Water Baby by Muriel Dawson

Water Baby by Muriel Dawson -- a little child in a bathtub. Date: 1939

Background imageSoap Collection: The Perfumers Costume (colour engraving)

The Perfumers Costume (colour engraving)
XIR154617 The Perfumers Costume (colour engraving) by Bonnart, Nicolas (c.1646-1718); Musee de la Ville de Paris, Musee Carnavalet, Paris

Background imageSoap Collection: CHIMNEY SWEEP, 1890. American advertisement for Pears Soap, 1890

CHIMNEY SWEEP, 1890. American advertisement for Pears Soap, 1890

Background imageSoap Collection: SOAP AD, 20th CENTURY. Have You a Little Fairy in Your Home? : American magazine advertisement

SOAP AD, 20th CENTURY. Have You a Little Fairy in Your Home? : American magazine advertisement, early 20th century
SOAP AD, 20th CENTURY. " Have You a Little Fairy in Your Home?" : American magazine advertisement, early 20th century, for Fairy Soup

Background imageSoap Collection: TITANIC: SOAP AD, 1912. The White Star liner Titanic used in an English newspaper advertisement

TITANIC: SOAP AD, 1912. The White Star liner Titanic used in an English newspaper advertisement for Vinolia Otto toilet soap shortly before the liner sank, April 1912, in the Atlantic Ocean

Background imageSoap Collection: White men bringing cleanliness to native cultures, 1890s

White men bringing cleanliness to native cultures, 1890s
" White mans burden" is to teach cleanliness, described in a Pears Soap ad, 1890s. Hand-colored halftone reproduction of a 19th-century illustration

Background imageSoap Collection: Coronation Street producer Susi Hush on the set of the soap. 14th August 1974

Coronation Street producer Susi Hush on the set of the soap. 14th August 1974

Background imageSoap Collection: Advert for Wrights coal soap 1916

Advert for Wrights coal soap 1916
Advertisement for Wrights Coal Tar soap, the soldiers soap suitable for all, from private to general. 1916

Background imageSoap Collection: Toilet Services, Real Wedgwood Ware, Plate 50

Toilet Services, Real Wedgwood Ware, Plate 50, showing patterned washing bowls, jugs, soap dishes, and a slop pail far too nice to put slops in. Date: circa 1880s

Background imageSoap Collection: Victorian Scrap, Pears Soap

Victorian Scrap, Pears Soap -- a mother monkey washes her dirty son. circa 1880s

Background imageSoap Collection: Advert for Cussons Imperial Leather soap, one of a series of ads utilising the language of

Advert for Cussons Imperial Leather soap, one of a series of ads utilising the language of the fan. Date: 1954



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From the trenches to the home front, soap played a pivotal role in history. During WW1, Wrights Coal Tar Soap became a trusted companion for soldiers, providing relief and cleanliness amidst the chaos of war. In 1900, Gossage Soap captured hearts with its captivating advert, leaving an indelible mark on society's consciousness. However, not all soap advertisements were progressive. The racist Pears ad serves as a stark reminder of past prejudices that we strive to overcome today. Yet amidst these dark moments, Port Sunlight emerged as a beacon of hope - a workers utopia built around the production of soap. The power of advertising was evident in posters promoting Sunlight Soap at every corner of London's bustling Piccadilly Circus in the 1920s. Inside tramsheds like those found in Lytham St Annes, Lancashire, people would catch glimpses of Thoms Castile Soap cards enticing them towards cleanliness and luxury. Across borders, French artist Jean Carlu created an iconic advertisement for Monsavon soap in 1925 - showcasing both artistic brilliance and effective marketing strategies. Meanwhile, Pears Soap continued to captivate audiences since its groundbreaking advert back in 1887. As time progressed into the 1930s, Goodwins toilet soap brought elegance and sophistication into households worldwide. Through wars and societal changes alike, one thing remains constant - soap has been an essential part of our lives throughout history.