Oporto: The English Factory

The English Factory (Feitoria Inglesa) was a trading post for a company of foreign merchants. Originally situated in Viana do Castelo from where it conducted the trade in the ‘green wines’ of Monção, expansion in the export of Port Wine led the English Factory to relocate to Porto.

The English Factory
The existing building, in the Neo-Palladian style, stands on the corner of what was the Rua Nova dos Ingleses and Rua S. João. Like the Hospital of Santo António designed by the architect Henry Carr. Construction began in 1785 and was finished in 1790. Both the exterior and the interior of the building, decorated in the style of the period, have been preserved.

The Factory House had a great importance as a Chamber of Commerce and a Commercial Exchange. Since 1800 it has been the home of the British Association, formed by the principal export houses to promote the interests and defend the privileges of British Port wine shippers. Today it functions solely as the private club of the Port wine shippers.

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Arriving in Oporto to select a port wine for his college, Englishman Horace Grimpil soon finds himself embroiled in the conflicting interests of the British and Portuguese communities, where he is an ignorant outsider.

This Portuguese city - a turbulent place of ambition and defiance fought over by the French and British during the Napoleonic wars - is emerging from political turmoil that left the city and its people with their wealth and society destroyed.

Mr Grimpil, however, is about to experience personal turmoil of his own. Little does he know how the passions aroused during his journey of discovery will affect his own character, or how his presence will bring to a conclusion the relentless pursuit of a political revenge spanning generations.

Read more about the book here

Grimpil's Retrogress © 2010

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