Dear members,


Welcome to the Society’s latest newsletter.


Close to 60 of our members attended the Annual Lunch at the Riviera Hotel in Carcavelos on 12 February. This was our first indoor gathering since the pandemic began. Let’s hope that recent improvements to the COVID-19 situation mean that we will be able to hold further indoor meetings in the coming months.


Many thanks to Carol Rankin for her fascinating talk on British connections in Lisbon - 1850s to the early 20th century: Personages, Professions, Places and Pastimes, and for bringing along several interesting mementoes. Carol’s presentation inspired recollections by other members who were either born in Portugal or have lived here for many years, and led to some lively conversations over lunch. We present a brief report of Carol’s talk in this newsletter.


With the last newsletter having contained two articles about the Azores, we now move to Madeira. We are pleased to welcome Cláudia Faria, who was born and bred in Madeira, as one of our authors. Cláudia has contributed an article about the many achievements of the Phelps family in Madeira, while our Council member, Andrew Shepherd, discusses the time when the sugar processor, Harry Hinton, caused much controversy in the Portuguese Parliament.


I should also like to draw your attention to our news item about Portugal-UK 650, an initiative to mark the 650th anniversary of the Anglo-Portuguese Alliance, with which the Society is collaborating.


Spring will soon be upon us and in the next few months we shall be concentrating on walks and visits. Our walk around historic Cascais scheduled for Saturday 19 March is already fully booked but hopefully we can arrange a repeat.


With best wishes,


Edward Godfrey


NEWS see more News here

FEBRUARY 18, 2022

Thomas Staunton St Clair

Newly published article by BHSP member, Maj. Gen. Rui Moura.


JANUARY 23, 2022


Celebrating 650 years of the Anglo-Portuguese Alliance

EVENTS see more Events here

MAY 6, 2022

Weekend trip to Mértola, the Minas de São Domingos, and Beja

Including a visit to the Cathedral in Beja


FEBRUARY 28, 2022

Report of the 2022 Annual Lunch, with a talk by Carol Rankin

This year's lunch was held on 12 February and was attended by 60 members

ARTICLES see more Articles here

Sugar in Madeira and the Hinton Question

Author: Andrew Shepherd



Year: 2022

Subject Matter: British Community and Family History


The Phelps family saga: From Dursley to Madeira

Author: Cláudia Faria



Year: 2022

Subject Matter: British Community and Family History


The British in Portugal

The Lisbon Ladies Club was founded in 1922 by a group of English ladies. Among the founders were Mrs Gertrude Turner, wife of one of the partners of William Graham Junior & Co, and Mrs Eileen Pope, wife of the General Manager of the Anglo-Portuguese Telephone Company. Mrs W.M.F. Stilwell became the honorary treasurer and Lady Carnegie, wife of the British Ambassador, Sir Lancelot Carnegie, the honorary president.


In 1923 the club registered under Portuguese law in the name of Grémio Feminino de Lisboa SARL. It soon established headquarters in Calcada do Combo (picture above), with a sitting room, dining room, library and a bedroom for members. The library was stocked with books from the Lisbon International Library, which had closed down. A full-time maid was engaged to serve light lunches and teas.


In 1929 it was proposed to admit men to the club but the proposal was soundly defeated by 17 to 3. It was clearly a coincidence, but from that year membership began to decline. However, in 1932 more suitable accommodation was found, at Travessa André Valente 13, with good public rooms, four bedrooms and a tennis court! This later became the first home of the British Institute (forerunner of the British Council). The building now bears a plaque noting the high quality of azulejos inside.


Having declined to 30 members in 1932, the membership picked up again and was 145 by 1934. In 1937 the club moved again, to Rua Nova da Trindade 9-2 (picture on right) in the heart of the Chiado, where bedrooms were also provided. Reciprocal membership was arranged with two clubs in London so the Lisbon Ladies had somewhere to stay when visiting the UK.

(Continued next column)

The British in Portugal

Lisbon Ladies Club (cont.)


Following the beginning of WWII, the Club made its facilities available to the Red Cross and the Women’s Relief Work Organization. In addition, it served as a refuge for the many British women who came to Lisbon during the war to reinforce embassy and consulate services. The same courtesy was extended to a group of American women doctors, nurses and social workers, who were made honorary members.


At the end of the war the Club had 189 members and this had increased to 250 by 1957. In that year, to commemorate the Queen’s first visit to Portugal, six distinguished Portuguese ladies, including the Duchess of Palmela, were offered, and accepted, honorary membership.


The Club became a centre for social events and talks, such as one given by Susan Lowndes Marques on “English Art in Portugal”. However, with rental and other costs rising and the number of British in the Lisbon area falling as they moved ‘down the line’ to Carcavelos, Estoril and Cascais, the number of members declined. Closure became inevitable following the disruption caused by the April 1974 Carnation Revolution, which led to a one-third drop in membership, and the Club was formally wound up in October 1975.



(1) Ana Vicente, Clube Lisboeta de Senhoras, In Feminae, Dicionário Contemporâneo, page 183.

(2) d’Arcy Orders, The Lisbon Ladies Club, BHSP Annual Report 1992




Why did students at Oxford University have reason to be grateful for the exploits in the Algarve of Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex (pictured)?

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

Did you know?

Did you know that in 1968 Paul McCartney wrote a song inspired by the Penina Golf Resort, which he promptly gave away to the leader of the resort’s band?


On December 11, Paul McCartney, his future wife, Linda Eastman, and her daughter made an apparently spontaneous decision to fly to Portugal to visit the journalist Hunter Davies at his holiday home in Luz in the Algarve. Davies had already written an official biography of the Beatles. Taking a private jet, they arrived in Faro with no money and woke Davies up in the middle of the night, demanding beds and money to pay the taxi driver!


One night during his stay he was out on the town, slightly the worse for a few drinks. He arrived at the Penina Resort after midnight when the house band, Jota Herre, was still playing and quickly joined them, playing multiple instruments, until four in the morning. The bar, which had been almost empty when he arrived, quickly became packed.


At some stage McCartney came up with a simple song, which he called “Penina”, and gave it to the bandleader, Anibal Cunha, almost as a tip. Jota Herre recorded the song in 1969 and it was later also recorded by Carlos Mendes. His version appears on an album called The Songs Lennon and McCartney Gave Away.


Unsurprisingly, given the circumstances, the song is not very profound. It has been described as more of a riff than a song. McCartney has said that he would never record it. You can hear the Jota Herre version on YouTube.


More about the story here and here.

Members' News

We are pleased to announce that our member, and Chairman of our Fiscal Board, Andrew Bailey (pictured), has been awarded an MBE in the Queen's New Year Honours, for his services as the Chair of the ‘Lar de Boa Vontade’ (Cheshire Home) in Carcavelos.


We are also pleased to report that another long-time resident of Portugal, Angela French, has been awarded a BEM for her role as Chair of the Women’s Royal Voluntary Service in Portugal.


Congratulations to both!



The articles that appear in the 2020 Annual Report have now been uploaded to the website. To download them, please go to:

Annual Report 2020



On 5 February, the Diário de Notícias marked the 70th anniversary of the Queen's accession to the throne with an article that included interviews with our vice-president, Mark Crathorne, and with the British ambassador, Chris Sainty. You can find the article here.



The guided tour of Cascais on 19 March is already sold out. We hope to organise a further tour in the near future. If you are signed up to participate, but are unable to attend, please let us know so that we can allocate your place to someone on the waiting list.


Answer to Quiz:

Essex distinguished himself in 1596 in the “capture of Cadiz”. On their way back from Cadiz the British fleet disembarked at Faro and burned it. They removed the contents of the library of Fernando Martins de Mascarenhas, Bishop of Faro, and the books were eventually donated by Essex to the Bodleian Library at the University of Oxford, which, in 1598, Sir Thomas Bodley had undertaken to restore.


The Associação de Defesa e Promoção do Património Ambiental e Cultural de Faro, known as “FARO 1540”, has been campaigning for the books to be returned to Portugal.


For more information, please see the article by Peter Booker in our Annual Report 46.

We would be delighted to hear about items of news from members. Please email:


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Carcavelos, September, 2018


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