Dear Member,


Please see our latest newsletter below. I hope you will enjoy reading it.


We include a report of our Annual General Meeting, held on 6 July. We are very grateful to Filipa Lowndes Vicente for agreeing to talk to us at short notice. Her presentation on Goa is a place an Englishman ought to visit: British travellers in Goa (1850-1950) was really fascinating. Glancing through our website, it seems as if we have only covered Goa once before, when Filipa’s uncle and our former chairman, Paolo Lowndes Marques, wrote on The British Occupation of Goa 1799-1815.


Talking of Paolo Lowndes Marques, in 2009 he was the prime mover behind an exhibition the Society organised, in collaboration with the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation and the British Council, of photographs taken in Lisbon in 1942 by Cecil Beaton. Our first main article reproduces Beaton’s diary of the visit, which appeared in the exhibition catalogue, together with some of the photographs.


Our newsletter editor, Andrew Shepherd, recently attended a Royal British Club event at which a presentation was given on the history of Lisbon’s water supply. The talk by Tiago Nuno Ramos mentioned that the steam engines used from 1880 to elevate the water to a sufficient height to supply Lisbon were built by a British company based in France. This inspired Andrew to research the matter further, and his article is attached.


The newsletter also has several of our regular features. I’d particularly like to draw your attention to the item in Members’ News requesting your help to identify funding sources to complete the website that will make available online all copies of the Anglo-Portuguese News (1937-2004).


Finally, for those in the Lisbon area and others, please reserve 13-15 September in your diaries for our annual trip. We shall be visiting Belmonte, the Urgeiriça Uranium Mine, staying at the Hotel Urgeiriça,  Gouveia and the Roman ruins of Conimbriga. Members will be receiving more information soon.


Best wishes,


Edward Godfrey


EVENTS see more Events here

NOVEMBER 1, 2024

Forthcoming events

Brief description of events planned by the Society and its partners in the coming months


SEPTEMBER 13, 2024

Three day trip to Urgeiriça and the Beira Alta

Including visits to the mine, museums nearby, and Roman ruins


JULY 6, 2024

Report on Annual General Meeting and talk by Filipa Lowndes Vicente on ‘English visitors to Goa (1850-1950)’

6 July 2024


JUNE 9, 2024

Report on Two Talks by Alfredo Almeida, "A Gaze over Porto"

Talks to Porto Group on 23 May and 4 June


MAY 24, 2024

Report on Visit to see the Treasures of The Pharmacy Museum in Lisbon



APRIL 23, 2024

Report on a talk by Richard Mayson on the ‘Music of the Revolution’

Talk to the Lisbon Group

ARTICLES see more Articles here

Cecil Beaton in Lisbon, 1942

Author: Cecil Beaton



Year: 2024

Subject Matter: British in Portugal


Water supply to the city of Lisbon and the Windsor Steam Engines

Author: Andrew Shepherd



Year: 2024

Subject Matter: NA


The British in Portugal

Oswald Crawfurd was born in London in 1834, the son of John Crawfurd who wrote on Burma and Malaysia and played an important role in the founding of Singapore. His mother, Horatia Perry, was a godchild of Nelson, and the daughter of James Perry, a well-known journalist. Crawfurd was schooled at Eton, but left Oxford without graduating, joining the Foreign Office in 1857. After a time in London and a spell in Madeira, he was appointed acting consul in Oporto in 1866 and confirmed in the post in 1867, staying there until 1891.


Like Eça de Queiroz, who was Portuguese consul in Newcastle and Bristol in the same period, Crawfurd found the time to write books about Portugal and novels, and to compile many anthologies. Unlike Eça, however, his work has not withstood the test of time, although some of his books are still available. Of around 40 works, three were on Portugal. Travels in Portugal was published under the pseudonym of John Latouche. According to Livermore, this goes “in search of the unusual and undescribed, but tends rather to the nondescript”. Portugal Old and New consists mainly of articles by Crawfurd, many reprinted from magazines to which he had contributed. According to Crawfurd: “My book is neither a book of history, nor of criticism, nor of pure description; nor an antiquarian work, nor a social or statistical one, nor a book of travel; but it is a medley of all these things." His third work, Round the Calendar in Portugal, explores the seasonal events that take place in the Minho, particularly related to agriculture and fishing, folklore, and social customs.


Charles Sellers probably derived the name of his classic book, Oporto, Old and New, from Crawfurd’s second book. Sellers returns the favour in the final chapter of his book (page 310), describing Travels in Portugal as a “most amusing and interesting book…… No author has written in a more friendly spirit, and with a more graceful pen about Portugal, than Mr. Crawfurd….. His name will never be forgotten by educated Portonians.” John Delaforce, in his book on Joseph James Forrester, also mentions Crawfurd as being well-qualified to comment on the merits of the disagreements between Forrester and the other wine exporters. He also quotes Crawfurd’s amusingly disparaging observations on the Select Committee of the House of Commons, to which Forrester gave evidence in 1852. “What happened in most Parliamentary Committees happened in this one. A huge mass of evidence, some valuable, more worthless and most of it ex parte and interested, and therefore worse than worthless, was laid before a party of not very competent judges…”


Despite his considerable interest in Portugal, Crawfurd was also keen to maximise his time in Britain. According to Livermore, he would take his leave in April, apply for an extension in July and not return until September or October, leaving everything in the capable, if underpaid, hands of the vice-consul. He had much to occupy himself in the UK: for a time he was a director of the publishers Chapman & Hall. In 1873 he founded and edited the New Quarterly Magazine, selling it in 1877.


Crawfurd’s novels written while he was in Porto included Sylvia Arden, his best known, and The World we Live In. Another popular novel was The Revelations of Inspector Morgan, a first edition of which is for sale online for £125 .


In 1888 he published an article in the Nineteenth Century entitled Slavery in East Central Africa. His qualifications to write this seem minimal, as he had never been to Africa. In the article he soundly rejected as “indefensible and absurd” the Rose-coloured Map of July 1887, published by the Portuguese government to show Portuguese possession of the land between Angola and Mozambique, on the basis of its exploration of the area. The article had little impact in Portugal until the January 1890 Ultimatum, also known as Lord Salisbury’s Ultimatum, which instructed Portugal to leave the claimed land.


The ease with which their country gave in to this British demand led to many Portuguese venting their sense of outrage on Crawfurd and demanding the withdrawal of his diplomatic rights and privileges. His house was stoned. Opposition to the British remained strong in Porto, despite calming down in Lisbon, and Crawfurd drew up plans for the evacuation of women and children, who were to assemble at the Quinta de Veiga, his residence in the east of the city. He forwarded the plan to the Admiralty, which pointed out that to send a warship would provoke the kind of disturbance it was desired to avoid.


The Porto authorities sent the ambassador in Lisbon a demand for Crawfurd to be recalled, who advised him to go on leave. In June 1891 he returned to England and resigned, thereafter devoting himself exclusively to literature, which, as he was independently wealthy, was solely a recreation and, perhaps, an opportunity to meet famous people. He died in 1909. His first wife, Margaret Ford, died in 1899. He remarried in Paris in 1902, to Lita Browne. Among the authors he published in his anthologies was the feminist writer Isobel Violet Hunt, lover of Somerset Maugham, H. G. Wells and Ford Madox Ford, with whom he is also said to have had an affair.

Book Review

Wellington and the Lines of Torres Vedras, by Mark S. Thompson. 2021. Helion & Company. ISBN 9781914059858. €25 approx.


For those of us who live in the Lisbon area, the Lines of Torres Vedras present an excellent opportunity for several day trips a few kilometres to the north of the city to explore the forts and redoubts, admire the scenery and, perhaps, have an enjoyable lunch at one of the many good restaurants in the area. Indeed, many of our members did exactly that as part of our Annual General Meeting last year.


But if we wanted to explore on our own, how can we maximise our enjoyment? After having driven up a hill, perhaps walking the final few hundred metres, to reach another redoubt, there may be a slight disappointment in that the ruins look pretty similar to several of the forts or redoubts that we have already seen before. How much better it would be if we were able to place where we are into context. Mark Thompson’s book does just that, and much more. As BHSP member, Rui Moura, says in the book’s Foreword: “Those who think that all that is known has already been written on the subject will be pleasantly surprised……. [The book] also serves as an excellent guide for those who wish to visit the Lines.”


There is a tendency to assume that the Lines were built to a detailed plan. In fact, things were much more complex than that. The plan outlined by Wellington in a Memo to Lt. Col. Fletcher dated 20 October 1809 was continually subject to improvements and adjustments, which continued even after the French had been repelled at Sobral de Monte Agraço virtually a year later. This plan was based on a topographical survey initially carried out by Neves Costa and Cunha d’Eça, and, as Thompson points out, the role of the Portuguese in planning the Lines has been underestimated by British historians.


Wellington’s plan depended on the choice of the beach in the lee of Fort St Julian near Oeiras as the embarkation point for British forces if things did not go to plan. Setúbal and Peniche had also been under consideration and the Lines would have looked very different had one of those sites been chosen. Plans for an embarkation point were essential, not least because London had stressed to Wellington the importance of minimising troop losses, but also because these plans, just like those of the Lines, were kept secret: the idea of a British withdrawal to leave Portugal to its own fate was very sensitive.


Thompson provides an invaluable colour map of the First and Second Lines, with all the forts and other redoubts plotted, showing the number that each one was assigned. This map is supplemented with a complete listing of each position. However, the book’s real fascination is his description of the process for deciding the location of the defences and developing their structures. It reveals Wellington as a commander who was closely involved in detailed planning and who was very much in control, but was not averse to making changes to the plan when they became necessary. With the expectation of a French attack from the Tagus, the initial plans called for the concentration of resources to the east of the Lisbon peninsula. But Wellington realised that he would run the risk of being cut off from the Royal Navy, and forts stretching west to the Atlantic were added. Castanheira do Ribatejo was originally seen as the site of the forts to be constructed on the First Line to protect against invasion from the Tagus, but it was pointed out by Fletcher that  Alhandra, to the south, would be better for several reasons.  


An interesting aspect of the book is its consideration of the role of the Royal Navy in supporting the defences. Navy gunboats made a major contribution to ensuring that the French were unable to cross or advance along the Tagus. However, not all was plain sailing. Sailors seconded to help to develop the signalling system to be used on the Lines (Thompson has an excellent chapter on this topic) were at one stage redeployed, because it had been expected that their pay would be supplemented by the Army. On another occasion, great panic occurred when it was reported by Navy scouts that the French had 40 small boats at their disposal: these turned out to be five bullock carts each with eight poles on their sides!


Despite the success of the Lines in repelling the French, they would probably have been ineffective if Napoleon had decided to come to Portugal himself and bring the 100,000 troops originally envisaged. Instead, he sent the cautious Masséna with 65,000, preferring to stay in Paris with his new bride, Marie-Louise of Austria. If Wellington had been faced with 100,000 French troops led by Napoleon himself and moving more quickly than Masséna did, it seems probable that he would have had to evacuate his troops as he was facing constant reminders from London about the need to minimise casualties. Britain had no other army.


This is an excellent book, full of information, well-organised chronologically, and with helpful illustrations. Much of the content is based on original sources, such as the letters of Wellington and his senior officers. It is ideal for taking with you when you explore the area north of Lisbon. It could, however, have benefitted from an Index: I frequently found myself wanting to refer back to earlier pages, which an Index would have made easier. Similarly, the lack of an Index slightly reduces the utility of the book when travelling around the Lines. With developments in Artificial Intelligence, it should not be too difficult for publishers to provide one for a 2nd edition.



Per capita, what does Portugal have more of than any other country, apart from France?

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

50 Years Ago

The Anglo Portuguese News of 8th June reported on President António de Spínola’s first visit to Oporto on 29 May. He recalled the glorious traditions of the city and stressed that he and they wished to construct a new Portugal, a Portugal that would be democratic, truly free and with greater social justice, a Portugal where all Portuguese might lead a worthier life and a happier one.


With remarkable prescience he warned that after one month of euphoria it was now time for all the Portuguese to reflect that a true and democratic society cannot be maintained without civic discipline and mutual respect. “I take this opportunity to alert all Portuguese that the notions of liberty and democracy which inspired the movement of the Armed Forces are being criminally undermined by counter-revolutionaries. These come from various sectors and their aim is solely destruction, anarchy, economic chaos and unemployment. It is the well known ‘scorched earth’ device…”


The same edition included information relating to daily life in post-revolution Portugal. Two decree-laws were passed affecting wages and salaries. With immediate effect a minimum monthly remuneration of Esc. 3000 (£55) was payable to all workers and employees with the exception of agricultural labourers, domestic servants and members of the armed forces whose cases were to be dealt with in subsequent legislation. On the other hand, salaries above Esc.7,500 (£127) were temporarily frozen. Cash drawings on current accounts, which had been restricted, were now unlimited.


It was announced that a meeting would take place at the Royal British Club, Rua da Estrela, Lisbon on 18 June in order to consider reviving the Portugal Branch of the Historical Association. All those interested were warmly invited to attend. Among the points to be considered were the preservation of the very interesting records of the branch, which had not functioned for many years, the finding of a place where they could be permanently housed, and the best way of carrying on the work of the revived association.


“Which St Julian?” was the title of a short article by W.J.L. He concluded that the St. Julian of the School, the Fort, and the Lisbon Church of that name is the St. Julian, who with his wife Sta. Basília, was martyred at Antioch, during the persecution of Diocletian, early in the 4th century.


The APN’s cricket correspondent regularly reported on cricket at Carcavelos under the nom de plume of The Unbiased One. Lisbon Sports Club played two games against The Eton Ramblers over the weekend of May 25 and 26, each side winning and losing a game. Reference is made to the late Robin Rankine, a member of the BHSP for many years, being in his most crab-like and grafting mood in the Sunday game, won by LS.C. “Rankine likes nothing better than a good graft…..he kept his head well down and bat and pad went forward with the regularity of a metronome”. He scored 93 not out.


In the edition of 22 June, we read that on 7 June the British Community Council’s Garden Party in honour of H.M. the Queen’s Birthday took place. It was brilliantly organized by members of the W. R. V. S. at St. Julian’s School. Some 250 members of the British Community and British visitors attended this very happy occasion. The Carris band played. The British Ambassador, Mr. Nigel Trench, congratulated the ladies of the W.R.V.S. on the great amount of work which had gone into the preparation of such a successful afternoon. The Ambassador then read out a telegram of greetings and loyalty to Her Majesty and proposed the health of the Queen, which was drunk in champagne.


The edition of 6 July refers to the renaissance  of the “British Historical Society – Portugal”. At a recent meeting held at the Royal British Club the above Society was formally constituted, the first chairman being Mr. R. J. E. Price; Honorary Secretary, Mr. D.C d’Arcy Orders and Honorary Treasurer, Mr. L.D. Harmar. The Objects of the Society were “to collect, collate and preserve as much as possible of the history of the British in Portugal and to record current events of importance to the community as they occur.”


Edward Godfrey


Members' News

Like many others in the British community in Portugal, we were greatly saddened to learn of the death, after a short illness, of Arthur Milton, Chairman of the Royal British Club (RBC). We send our condolences to his partner, Layla.


A Yorkshireman, Arthur had read chemistry at Oxford, qualified as a chartered accountant and was an experienced plc board director.


Arthur arrived in Portugal only five years ago, but in that time, he attended many community events and made many friends. His cheerful disposition, sharp wit and infectious laughter always contributed to any activity he was involved in. He had committed himself completely to the RBC for the long term and had great plans for the future of the Club. In just 18 months he took on and resolved many administrative issues. He has left the Club in very good hands and with a very clear vision for the future.


We in the British Historical Society appreciated his willingness to continue the long tradition of inviting our members to RBC events, which we gladly reciprocated.


An admirable effort has been initiated to publish online every past edition of the Anglo-Portuguese News (1937-2004), all of which are presently held in the Society’s library. The files will be searchable, making this into an invaluable tool for researchers. All copies have already been scanned, courtesy of Filipe Lowndes Marques, whose grandparents owned the newspaper for much of its life. Funding is now being sought to meet the considerable cost of completing the development of the dedicated web site. If you know the owners or management of a company or other organisation that has close connections with the British community in Portugal (or may have advertised in the APN), please ask them whether they would be interested in making a one-off donation for the development of the web site. Sizeable sponsorships will be acknowledged with placement of the company or organisation’s logo on the site. If you can identify any potential donors, please contact us via so that an official proposal can be sent. Personal donations will also be very welcome.


An interesting lunch meeting took place on 21 April. Four of the eight attendees were the great-great-great-grandchildren of the four men who met completely by chance on 26 March 1809 and were pivotal in changing the course of the Second French Invasion of Portugal, initially by repelling the French at Coimbra. Also present were our members Tim Richardson, Rui Moura and our vice-chairman Mark Crathorne. For more information about the participants, please see here.


We are sad to record the death of Rosemary Harkes, (April 1928-January 2024), who died earlier this year in Porto at the age of 95. She was a longstanding member of the British Historical Society and a well-loved stalwart of St. James’s Anglican Church and of the British Club (OCLTC). Born in Edinburgh, she and her twin sister Muriel spent a year in Porto as part of their training as English as a Foreign Language teachers, and then returned to Portugal after completing their course. Rosemary married José Sá Carneiro Figueiredo, cousin of the prime minister Francisco Sá Carneiro who was tragically killed in the 1980 Lisbon Plane Crash. She continued to teach until retirement, becoming well-known for her car, a Singer Chamois, which she bought in the 1960s and continued to drive into her nineties. For a full obituary please see here.


Several of our members attended a Conference at the Museu da Farmácia, Lisbon on 6 June which commemorated the 80th anniversary of the D-Day Landings. The conference was organized and chaired by Dr. João Mota, director of the Museum.


The first half was devoted to the memories, either direct or indirect, of speakers who had experienced the landings or subsequent events. The first speaker was our member, Andrew Bailey, who recalled the build-up to the landings. He described how his father, a Royal Navy mine clearance officer, landed in the early hours of 6 June on Gold Beach and proceeded to the French port of Ouistreham, rendering the port free of German mines and so enabling its use by allied shipping to unload men and supplies.


Of the three other speakers, one described how, as a young child, he had witnessed the landings; another, her memories of the liberation of Brussels; and the third, how she made the journey with her family from France to Portugal as a refugee with a visa issued by the Portuguese consul in Bordeaux, Aristides Sousa Mendes.


The theme of the second half of the conference was “Portugal and the Second World War - the reflections of the historians”. Finally, Dr. Mota showed us items relating to the War, such as a back pack worn at Omaga Beach, first aid kits issued to participants in the D-Day landings and the personal first aid kit of Adolf Hitler’s nurse.



Answer to Quiz: Roundabouts.


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Carcavelos, September, 2018


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