Since 1811, the impressive 18th century Neo-Palladian building in Porto called the British Factory House (Feitoria Inglesa) has functioned as the meeting point for British Port shippers in the city. They came here from their quintas and lodges on Wednesdays – the day the boat from England docked with mail, newspapers and other goodies, to meet and chat, conduct business, read the papers and have lunch. It was called The Wednesday Lunch and always started at 1pm with an aperitif in the Drawing Room. Lunch was served by white clad waiters wearing white gloves in one of the spacious and elegant dinning rooms on the first floor. (Meals were cooked in the third floor kitchens.) Tawny Port was drunk at the end of the meal. Diners would then move into the second and identical dinning room where vintage port was served.
It is possible for wine lovers to have a conducted tour of the Factory House and have a meal, by prior arrangement, with all the old pomp and ceremony.
Last June we visited the Factory House for a morning tour of the premises conducted by manager Mrs. Olga Lacerda. Here’s a photo report of that vist: