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Charles Sellers



Newsletter 8




Subject Matter:


British Community and Family History



In 1899, Charles Sellers, a member of a wine exporting family based in Oporto, published a book entitled: Oporto, Old and New. Being a Historical Record of The Port Wine Trade and a Tribute to British Commercial Enterprize in the North of Portugal. This contains some fascinating information about Oporto, the River Douro region and Portugal in the late 19th century, as well as detailed descriptions of the major wine exporters.

The first chapter is titled Personal Reminiscences and we reproduce it here. The chapter describes the improvements to the city that the author had noted in the previous 40 years; its history, its geography and the problems caused by the steepness of the hills; the development of shipping services to England; the bridges built across the river to replace the pontoon bridge; the English in Oporto and their cricket; the building of a new Customs House; and the construction of the new port at Leixões. Following a brief tourist guide to Oporto, Sellers discusses his memories of staying at the beach at Foz do Douro or Leça da Palmeira. The English had small houses at the beach and furniture was annually loaded onto bullock carts. Sellers amusingly describes the events at the beach and the differences between Portuguese and English bathing practices.

The chapter can be read here

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