NEWSLETTER Nº18 . FEBRUARY 2023
INTRODUCTION

Dear Members,

 

Welcome to our first newsletter of 2023. I hope that there is something of interest for all of you in the following pages.

 

 

Your Council is pleased to announce that we are developing a full programme of activities for the year, both for members living in the Lisbon area and also those in the Porto area. I should like to emphasise that our Porto branch is very much enjoying a revival under the enthusiastic leadership of Alan Dawber, together with an influx of new members and the kind support of the Oporto Cricket and Lawn Tennis Club as a venue for talks and convivial dinners afterwards.

 

 

Our first event in Lisbon was the Annual Lunch held at the Riviera Hotel in Carcavelos on 28 January, with a record number of 80 members and guests attending. A full report is included in this newsletter.

 

 

Details of forthcoming events for the first six months of the year for both Lisbon and Porto can also be found in the newsletter. Following the great success of the Lisbon group’s visit three-day visit to Mértola last year, we have decided this year to go north to Porto and the Douro for the long weekend of 8 to 11 June. Thus, there will be an opportunity for members of the Lisbon and Porto groups to meet up on 8 June for a talk on 'The Life and Times of Baron Joseph James Forrester', followed by a dinner at the Oporto Cricket and Lawn Tennis Club.

 

 

The newsletter contains two articles on personalities and events in Anglo-Portuguese history. We are pleased to include an article written by our member, Ricardo Charters-d’Azevedo, on his ancestor William Charters, a British officer in the Portuguese Army during the Peninsular War. The other article, written by Council member Andrew Shepherd, is about the Marquis of Pombal and his relationship with Britain and British businessmen in Portugal.

 

 

We welcome contributions to the newsletter from members and non-members.  Please contact the editor with your suggestions, via the e-mail address at the end of the newsletter.

 

 

The Council looks forward to seeing as many members as possible at our events in 2023.

 

 

With all good wishes,

 

 

Edward Godfrey

Chairman

NEWS see more News here

NOVEMBER 24, 2023

Forthcoming events

Planned events of the Society in the coming months

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FEBRUARY 14, 2023

Annual Lunch 2023

Report of the annual lunch and presentations

READ MORE
EVENTS see more Events here

NOVEMBER 30, 2022

Report on talk on Bristol-Porto connections

Event held in Porto of 24 November

READ MORE

NOVEMBER 30, 2022

Report on guided visit to the Palácio Cristal Gardens in Porto, followed by tea and illustrated talk at the Macaréu - Associação Cultural

Event held on 26 November 2022

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ARTICLES see more Articles here

The Marquis of Pombal and the British

Author: Andrew Shepherd

Report:

Page:

Year: 2023

Subject Matter: NA

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William Charters: a British officer in the Portuguese Army

Author: Ricardo Charters-d’Azevedo

Report:

Page:

Year: 2023

Subject Matter: Peninsular War

READ MORE

Did you know?

Did you know that John Methuen (pictured) and his son, Paul, gave their name to the Methuen Commercial Treaty of 1703, said by the historian Kenneth Maxwell to be the “most simple and short treaty in the history of international relations”? The treaty perhaps explains why Britons are significant consumers of port wine and for this reason, it is also known as the “Port Wine Treaty” although the treaty was to benefit Britain more than Portugal, allowing Britain to monopolise Portugal’s trade, and delaying the economic development of Portugal in areas other than the Douro. But how did the treaty get its name?

 

John Methuen was born in Bradford-on-Avon in Wiltshire in 1650, the eldest son of Paul Methuen, who was said to be the richest cloth merchant in England. The family was of Scottish origin. On his father’s death, John inherited the estate that his father had bought near Devizes, as part of a fortune divided between him, his six siblings and their mother. Methuen attended St. Edmund Hall, Oxford but there is no record of his having completed the degree. He was called to the Bar in 1674. He married Mary Cheevers of Wiltshire, whose father was also a rich clothier, and had five children, including Paul. The marriage ended in separation, with John being required to pay Mary a substantial alimony as a result of his affairs, including with Sarah Earle, the wife of a fellow diplomat. Methuen was a controversial figure, who made many enemies, including the writer and satirist Jonathan Swift, who considered him "a profligate rogue without religion or morals, cunning enough but without abilities of any kind".

 

In 1685 Methuen became Master in Chancery, a post he held for the rest of his life, despite complaints about his inefficiency. He was elected to the House of Commons for Devizes in 1690 and sat for that constituency, with one short break, until his death. He was appointed to be the envoy to Portugal in 1691, where he looked forward to a "not too onerous position in an agreeable climate". The precise reason for his selection is unclear, but it may have been due to his family's business expertise, as the government was hoping that the two countries would negotiate a commercial treaty. In 1694 his younger son, Henry, was killed in a fight with an English trader in Lisbon. John established good relations with King Pedro II, but was required to return to England on his appointment to the Board of Trade. He was then appointed as Lord Chancellor of Ireland, despite some opposition. Methuen returned to Portugal in 1702 as the English envoy and then as full Ambassador, holding this position until his death.

 

Paul Methuen was born around 1672. He was educated privately in England, before being sent to a Jesuit school in Paris. He accompanied his father to Lisbon in 1691. During the two absences of his father, he became Chargé d'affaires, being promoted on his father's appointment as Lord Chancellor of Ireland. He was unable to prevent a Portuguese-French alliance in 1701, but after his father returned to Portugal as a special envoy in 1702, they were together successful in ending that alliance in 1703, which led to the Methuen Treaty in the same year. In 1705, Paul Methuen served with the army, being present at the capture of Gibraltar. He succeeded his father as ambassador to Portugal on the latter's death in July 1706. This was followed by a distinguished political career in London, including as MP for Brackley. Paul Methuen died in 1757. Methuen, Massachusetts was named after him.

 

The British in Portugal

H. Parry & Son was a shipyard in Lisbon that existed from 1855 to 1986. It was the first shipyard in Portugal to manufacture steel-hulled ships, mainly constructing smaller vessels for the Portuguese navy, coastal shipping and tugboats. Members of the Society visited the site of the Parry yard in Cacilhas in April of last year.

 

Hugh Parry was a British boilermaker. After completing a two-year contract in the naval arsenal in Lisbon, he founded his own shipyard in Boa Vista, Lisbon in 1855, together with George Oakley, who died in the same year. Parry took his son-in-law, Francis Churchill Cannell, into the management of the company in 1866, and Cannell took over the management after the death of Parry in 1876.

 

The company initially worked to produce steam engines in the Santo Amaro harbour basin in Lisbon, where the Carris museum is now located. From there, it was moved in 1860 to Ginjal, on the south bank of the Tejo, where more space was available. At Ginjal the shipyard also made steam engines for other uses, such as for distilleries. The company's first ship, the Alcântara, was launched from Ginjal. This was a side-paddle steamer with space for around 200 passengers. In 1864, the Belém was launched, the first ship built in Portugal with a steel hull. In 1869, the yard's first ship with a screw-drive was launched. Two sailing ships were also built, with the schooner, Três Macs, and the sloop, Atlântico, still surviving.

 

However, the yard in Ginjal was not really suitable and Parry found a better site not far away in Cacilhas, moving part of its business in 1872 to the Sampaio shipyard, which had been built on a salt flat. In 1899, the company purchased the Sampaio yard. In 1890, the company benefited from the consequences of the British Ultimatum, in which Britain demanded that Portugal drop claims to the land between Angola and Mozambique.  The Portuguese navy awarded Parry & Son contracts to construct river gunboats to protect its colonies.

 

With the death of Cannell in 1917, his two children took over the shipyard. Apart from naval vessels, information is lacking about the yard’s activities from 1910 onwards. During the Second World War, the company ran into difficulties and started to mainly carry out repair work. However, from 1948 the company expanded the shipyard to work on the production of tugs and carry out repair work on trawlers. In 1950, it took a majority holding in one of its competitors, Estaleiros Navais de Viana do Castelo (ENVC), which would eventually be sold to CUF. The company was sold in 1954 but kept the name. H. Parry & Son did not survive the 1974 Revolution, becoming bankrupt in 1986.

 

After the shipyard was closed, all buildings were demolished. The shipyard's two dry docks have been preserved and today are used as berths for the sailing frigate Dom Fernando il e Gloria, and the former submarine of the Portuguese navy, the NRP Barracuda.

 

At the beginning of the 20th century, the company looked into entering the automotive industry. Building six test vehicles in 1901, it was the fifth company to try to manufacture cars in Portugal, but none got beyond the prototype stage. 

 

 

Quiz

Who, according to George Bernard Shaw, was “the only man who ever taught me anything?”

The answer to the quiz can be found at the end of the Members' News section

Book Review

Neill Lochery, Out of the Shadows: Portugal from Revolution to the Present Day. Lochery may be known to many of our readers for his previous book on Portugal, Lisbon: War in the Shadows of the City of Light, 1939-45. His second book skips 29 years and begins with the 1974 Carnation Revolution, bringing us up to 2014. The book was published in 2017.

 

While this is a fascinating read, it should be pointed out that the title is a bit of a misnomer. It should really be “Portuguese politics from Revolution to the Present Day”. One learns relatively little about the experiences of the people of the country during the period, despite Lochery’s evident interest in the fortunes of the national football team. The narrative rarely leaves Lisbon and, particularly towards the end of the book, rarely strays far from the political machinations in or close to São Bento.

 

At the start, Lochery acknowledges that writing recent history is always difficult because of the tendency of governments, including Portugal’s, to lock up documents until there can be few repercussions from their release. He was, however, able to obtain diplomatic correspondence from both the UK and the US, and relies quite heavily on this, particularly reports about the situation in Portugal filed by successive British ambassadors. Thus, we learn almost as much about what these ambassadors thought about the leading Portuguese politicians as we do about what the politicians thought about each other.

 

While the average Briton may have felt that the Revolution was a little local difficulty in an out-of-the-way country (this was before Portugal became such a popular tourist destination), it was not seen that way by US and UK politicians. Henry Kissinger, in particular, was very concerned about the possible seizure of power by communists in a NATO country. At the time, the US relied heavily on its airbase in the Azores, and it briefly considered supporting disaffected groups in the Azores to seize power and declare independence.

 

Lochery does a good job of summarising the chaotic political scene after the Revolution and the various attempts to seize power. The book is cleverly organized, with each chapter covering one year, from 1974 through 2011, with the Epilogue carrying the story closer to today. Throughout the book he notes the repercussions of changes made during that period that later proved difficult to reverse and impacted negatively on the country’s subsequent development, including labour legislation and land rights. Another common theme is Portugal’s struggle to gain acceptance in Europe: first as a result of its successful application to join the European Economic Community and, later, through becoming a founder member of the European Monetary Union. Overall, the book provides the reader with a deeper understanding of how Portugal arrived in its present situation, politically and economically.

 

One gets the impression, though, that the final chapters were put together in a hurry in order to meet a deadline. They increasingly cover the political situation and little else. Moreover, mistakes begin to creep in: President Obama’s inauguration is said to be January 1999 rather than 2009 and the people of Mafra might be rather upset to read that their town is an “area of Lisbon”.

 

Published 2017. €30 in bookshops. Also available on Kindle.

Members' News

Mary Kendall, who has died at the age of 92, was a longstanding member of the British Historical Society. Born as a Holroyd, in 1956 she married Joe Kendall, a member of an illustrious Anglo-Portuguese family that goes back to the beginning of the 19th Century. While she was a Protestant, he was a Catholic. She refused to marry in a Catholic church after being told that she would have to use a side entrance! Eventually they married in St James’ in Porto.

 

Mary studied at the Oporto British School, and after a period studying  Portuguese Literature at King's College London, which had to be curtailed due to her mother Ellen's death, she became a teacher at the same school, remaining there for 40 years. She was known as an animal lover, particularly for having a pet donkey in her twenties, and she would give children free rides on this on the British sports field in Rua do Campo Alegre. She was also a country lover, and a woman full of energy, who would hike either alone or with friends and family over hills in the Minho, where the family had a 'Quinta'. Someone with a mischievous sense of humour and an infectious laugh, Mary was very active and much loved amongst the British community in Porto.  She will be much missed.

 

For a more-detailed obituary, please see here.

 

 

In the last issue we reported on the discovery of a British cannon in the Tagus estuary off Carcavelos. This story has now appeared in The Times. Our Chairman, Edward Godfrey, was interviewed for the article and is quoted. You can see the article here.

 

Our Porto branch has been very active in the last few months. So much so, that the Events section of the Newsletter is overflowing. Its latest event was a presentation by Dr Rui Carvalho Homem on the subject of Lessons learned from four Shakespeare translations by King Dom Luiz I. You can read the full report here

 

The articles that appeared in the 2021 Annual Report have now been uploaded to our website. You can find the links here.

 

Our members living in or near London may like to know that there will be a Special Service to commemorate the 650th anniversary of the Treaty of London, to be held at 11.00 on Thursday 15 June 2023, in St Paul's Cathedral. Information on this will be posted on the Portugal-UK 650 website.

 

Answer to the Quiz: The dancing instructor at Reid’s hotel in Madeira.

 

While staying in Reid’s Hotel in Madeira in early 1925, Shaw was devastated by the news of the sudden death of his friend, William Archer. One evening, he decided to overcome his bereavement with an unusual piece of therapy, agreeing to take a tango lesson from the resident dancing instructor, Max Rinder. When Shaw left Reid's on 12 February, he gave Rinder a signed photograph, "To the only man who ever taught me anything".

 

For a photograph of the lesson, see this link.

 

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Carcavelos, September, 2018

 

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