Unilever was formed in 1929 by the merger of Lever Brothers Limited and the Dutch Margarine Unie (Union). Lever Brothers was formed in 1884, and the Margarine Union was established in 1927 by the merger of two Dutch margarine companies, Jurgens and Van den Burgh, which had been founded in 1872.
These companies operated a number of pension schemes for their staff, the records of which are held at the Unilever company archive at Port Sunlight:
- Van den Bergh Superannuation Fund and Widow or Dependent Pension: operated between 1922-1927, and renamed as the Union Superannuation Fund in 1928 when the principal company became the Margarine Union.
- Margarine Union’s British Widows' Assurance Scheme
- Lever Brothers Employees' Benefit Fund Co-Partnership
- Union Provident Fund: wound up in 1947 in preference to the new Union Pension Fund. (The Unilever Archive also holds the records of an associated company Union Provident Trust Ltd.)
- Union Pension Fund: possibly the original Lever Brothers Ltd fund, it commenced on 1st October 1947 and closed to new members on 31st March 1962. (The Unilever Archive also holds the records of an associated company Union Pension Trust Ltd (now USF Nominees Ltd).)
- Union Superannuation Fund: started on 1st January 1962. (The Unilever Archive also holds the records of associated companies USF Nominees and USF Investments Ltd.)
- Unilever Superannuation Fund: formed on merger of two existing funds on 1st July 1972. (The Unilever Archive also holds the records of associated companies: Unilever Superannuation Fund Trustees Limited (USFTL), Unilever Pension Trust Ltd, Unilever Pension Investments Ltd, Unilever USF Investments Ltd, Unilever Pension Fund Trustees Ltd, Unilever UK Pension Fund Trustees and Unilever Superannuation Trustees Limited.)
The Unilever archive also holds material relating to the pension schemes of subsidiary companies which were acquired by Unilever. These include:
- Angus Watson & Company Limited and Associated Companies Superannuation Fund (records include constitution and regulations);
- Brook Bond (acquired by Unilever in 1984). The records relate to Brook Bond’s: Contributory Pension Scheme, Overseas Staff Pension Scheme, Salaried Staff Contributory Pension Scheme, Sales Staff Contributory Pension Scheme, Executives Supplementary Pension Scheme, Pension and Life Assurance and Retirement Benefits Schemes for Directors, Widows' and Dependants' Benefits Scheme, Sales Mangers' Contributory Pension Scheme, Group Pension Scheme and Group Pension Trust Limited;
- Candles Provident Fund;
- CPC (UK) Pension Trust Ltd;
- Copy Corn Products Co Pension Plan;
- Cotswold Collotype Company Limited Contributory Pension Scheme;
- Delco Pension Fund;
- Domestos Limited Life Assurance (policy with The Equitable Life Assurance Society);
- English Margarine Works Broad Green Superannuation Fund;
- Hayward-Peck Holdings Limited Pension and Life Assurance Schemes;
- J. Lyons & Co. Ltd/Total Refrigeration Ltd (Total Investments)/Lyons Pension Trust Ltd;
- Jurgens Purfleet Superannuation Fund;
- Knorr Anglo-Swiss Pension Fund;
- Ollivant Ltd and Provident Trust Ltd;
- Olympia Oil and Cake Ltd Superannuation Fund (records include trust deed 1933);
- Oxo Pension Fund;
- Pelling Stanley & Co. Limited and Richard B. Green & Company Limited and Associated Companies Superannuation Fund (records include constitution and regulations);
- Poulton Pensions Limited;
- Price's (Bromborough) Provident Fund;
- Price's Patent Candle Company Limited Pension Fund Scheme;
- Purfleet (Women's) Fund;
- R. Silcock & Sons Limited Guardian Pension Fund;
- Thames House Superannuation Fund;
- The Berkshire Printing Co Ltd Contributory Pension Scheme;
- The UNIAC Pension Fund;
- Unico Pension Fund;
- United Africa Provident Fund. The United Africa Company was formed in 1929 by a merger of Royal Niger Company(which had been controlled by Lever Brothers since 1920) and the African and Eastern Trade Corporation, and came under control of Unilever in 1930s. (The Unilever Archive also holds the records of associated companies United Africa Provident Trust Ltd and Union African Pension Trust Ltd.); and
- Unitropical Fund.
There is also material relating to several pension funds for Unilever’s staff outside the UK including: Union Pension Fund (South Africa), Union Overseas Provident Fund, Union Superannuation (Ireland) Fund, Lever Bros (S.A.) & Union Pension Fund (S.A.), Unilever S.A. Pension Fund and Lever Canada Pension Fund.
The archive has fairly extensive records for the main Unilever pension funds, but those relating to smaller companies that became part of the Unilever group may be more sparse.
Anyone wishing to consult pensions or other records in the care of Unilever Archives should apply in writing or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Business papers and personnel records in the Unilever Archive are subject to the usual closure periods.
More information about Unilever's history and the company's archives is available on their website.