UNILEVER’s Warrington factory permanently closed on Thursday  evening after 130 years in business.

The manufacturing giant revealed plans to shut its historic Crosfields site, where its Persil and Surf washing powders are made, earlier this year.

And today, Thursday, will be the final day of production at the Bank Quay factory where around 125 workers were employed.

Jon Strachan, vice president of supply chain for Unilever in the United Kingdom and Ireland, said: “After 135 years in Warrington, today marks the last day of production at our laundry powder detergent factory.

“I would like to thank all of our employees over the years for the part they have played in the factory’s history, and particularly those who have showed untiring commitment during very difficult times to see the final products coming off the production line today.

“We will continue working with and supporting our employees over the coming months as they prepare for their next steps, and wish them all the very best in the future.”

Warrington Guardian:

Unilever pointed to a ‘sustained and irreversible decline in demand’ for washing powder as its reason for closing the site, which is shared with PQ Corporation.

Sales have fallen by 15 per cent in recent years, with customers increasingly using liquids and capsules for their laundry and the production line running at less than half of its capacity.

The company intends to move most of its manufacturing of washing powders to a partner in Europe, with smaller volumes set to be moved to its other factories.

The GMB union previously described the move as a 'hammer blow for the town'.

Lever Brothers was first founded in Warrington 136 years ago, opening for business in 1884.

But the town’s soap-making history dates as far back as the 1750s through firms such as Joseph Crosfield and Sons, which opened a small works at Bank Quay in 1814.

The site rapidly grew over the next century, with the upstart Lever Brothers eventually buying out its neighbours in 1919.