Two major soap Manufacturers were in Balmain for many years, Lever Bros and Colgate Palmolive, Lever Brothers was surrounded by seven streets and started in the early 1900’s. The company had it’s own sawmill for making their wooden cases for packing of their products. The company had a big hall in Roseberry place, called Sunlight Hall and this was used as a dining room and at times a company dance hall. Two of the old time soaps produced by Levers were Lifebuoy, carbollice toilet soap for bathing and monkey soap for cleaning pots and pans.
Colgate started operating in 1924 and built on the old meat works sight in Colgate Avenue (then known as Broadstairs Street) after the meat works closed down after WW1. A wide range of products were being manufactured at the Balmain factory, not only soap and toothpaste, but shampoo, shaving cream, brilliantine, powder, rouge, and lipstick. The workers at Colgate Palmolive developed skills, speed and pride in their work. Stamping, finishing, wrapping and packing were all done largely by hand.
Old Balmain week 1