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Porto, the Unvanquished City


I bring you some photographs of the city I was born in, Porto (or Oporto), in Portugal, from around the Edwardian Era. This is the second biggest city in Portugal, and one with a very rich history. It is known as the “Cidade Invicta”, or the “Unvanquished City”, for standing undefeated against many invasions.

Santa Catarina Road, circa 1875
Saint Anthony Hospital, circa 1900


In 1911 there were almost 190 000 people living in Porto, a city that gathered a lot of merchants and artists. Only one year before Portugal had had a revolution that put an end to the Monarchy and started the First Portuguese Republic, which would last for almost two decades.

Royal Theater of São João (St John), circa 1900

Since the city rests by the sea, its population was always very trade oriented, and it had a large bourgeois class (as opposite to Lisbon, the capital, where the nobility and the politicians lived). In the 19th century the city had a industrial revolution and turned itself into a very important hub in the Atlantic.

Lello Library, circa 1905 (still exists today)
D. Maria Bridge, circa 1877

This made it so many artists and creators of some sort went to Porto at least once. This bridge, for example, was built by Gustave Eiffel, known for the Eiffel Tower and the Statue of Liberty. This affluence turned Porto into a modern city, with a lot of caffés, theaters, bookshops, gardens, fairs, and exhibitions.

Clerigos Street, circa 1897


The outskirts of the city, though, were still very dedicated to agriculture (although decreasingly so). It was there that the famous Oporto wine was made, and still is, and the beverage was already one of the main trades of the city, and even the country.

Nossa Senhora da Guia Beach, circa 1900
Grand Hotel, circa 1900


Chinez Coffee Shop, circa 1907

And finally, some illustrations and older photographs of this quaint city by the river. I hope you liked this gallery!

Crystal Palace Museum, 1879
circa 1881
Alidos Avenue, circa 1900
Cordoaria Garden, circa 1900s


The Customs of Edwardian Society


Gentleman's club, 1906

The customs of Society seem to follow some curious law of their own. What is absolutely de rigueur in this generation is tacitly condemned in the next; the words, the manners, the habits, which show the gentleman in one era serve to proclaim the snob in another. In fact, “fashionable follies are like soap-bubbles, the larger they are the nearer to bursting.”

Not so long ago, it was considered a part of fine manners to use bad language, to possess an extensive repertory of oaths, and to blaspheme regularly. Now swearing is the exception. Even peppery old generals have learned to restrain their ardour and their language; much-tried masters of hounds rarely give vent to an oath; and horses, a connection with which was supposed to lead to a strange affinity with bad language, no longer tempt the racehorse owner, the trainer, or the jockey to its indulgence. A general sobriety of speech and demeanour has spread over persons in authority. No schoolmaster would dare to swear at his boys as the immortal Dr. Keate did in the old days at Eton College. A volley of oaths would leave the young recruit as unmoved as a volley of shot the old hand.

In the same way ladies of quality used and listened to strong language that would nowadays shock their ladies’-maids, and cause them promptly to complain were it addressed to them by the footman.

Drinking also has gone out of fashion, as far as persons being seen drunk in public; though doubtless a good deal of liquor is absorbed in nips of whiskey and soda and liqueurs during the day by young men at their clubs. Champagne is the essentially popular wine of Society; and Society, accustomed to take this delicate sparkling beverage already with the sonp, does not care to sit drinking claret after dinner. Rather do the fumes of tobacco allure at that period. The cigarette has superseded the snuff-box, and may safely be said to be the trivial vice of the nineteenth century. Some people are never without one of these cigarettes in their mouth; a cigarette smoker may consume as many as thirty during the day. He may smoke before breakfast, and after he has retired to rest; even, if he be an inveterate smoker, between the courses of dinner, but this is rare, except in Spain. But the habit of smoking in the dining-room has invaded all classes.

Directly the ladies have left the dining-room, the silver cigarette-box and the dainty spirit lamp wherewith to light it are passed round; and the man who does not smoke must either endure it or go. This cheery, convivial practice, essentially foreign in its origin, began in the highest circles, and has descended to the lowest; after luncheon as after dinner it is indulged in, until the consumption of cigarettes forms a considerable item in the family expenditure. Ladies encourage and imitate the habit, and, being always anxious to please, willingly learn to take a puff at the odorous weed themselves. This condescension on their part has insensibly resulted in an acquired taste that bids fair to rival the habits of men.

Trade, to engage in which was formerly considered a disgrace for any gentleman or lady by birth, which was considered to place its votaries without the pale of society, is now frankly adopted; and a large crop of lady dressmakers, modistes, and flower sellers, who call themselves by all kinds of fantastic French names, and persecute their grand relations for their patronage and custom, has blossomed out into dainty shops in the most popular thoroughfares of London. Duchesses and countesses, dowagers and budding daughters, drink tea with them in their shops, and are not at all ashamed to show themselves in public in their company at Ascot, or in their boxes at the opera, for they are generally beautifully dressed, much admired and courted, while they not infrequently prove themselves excellent women of business.

This mixture of aristocratic shop-keeping and Society-going seems somewhat incongruous, and it sounds curious to hear of apprentices and shop-girls, flown from the horrors of book-keeping and stocktaking, spending their holidays as guests in ducal castles and the exclusive houses of the nobility. Youths of quality sell tea, and beer, and wine, and cigars, and do all sorts and kinds of things, creditable or otherwise, to gain a living. For, indeed, younger sons who are the pride and the bewilderment of families, have a predilection for living, and usually for living well.

A crust and a garret does not appeal to them, brought up as they have been from childhood in the paternal castle, or in the midland mansion, with an army of grooms and keepers and gillies at their beck and nod, and a stable full of horses to save them any superfluous expenditure of shoe-leather. Poverty, even economy, does not seem possible to them. A ride on a ‘bus or a chop at the club makes life not worth living. What is existence without a valet to get your hot tub, and lay out your dry coat and silk under-garments before the fire in readiness for the return from shooting; to pack the endless knick-knacks of a gentleman’s attire, and look after dressing-bags and sandwich cases when you travel; without a pair of guns or rifles always handy wherewith to slay something on the moors and in the forests; and a bottle of dry champagne and a shilling cigar with which to talk and meditate over the day’s doings!

Yet the embarrassed landlord, be he even an earl, with heavily mortgaged estates and a string of children to educate, is pretty much in the position of the middle-class tradesman (and much less well off than the merchant or the self-made man), when he turns his sons out on the world to get their own living as they may. Two or three hundred a year is the utmost he can afford to allow them; and how can a gentleman with expensive tastes, and a lavish bringing-up, contrive to live on that? How can he spend, and enjoy, and flirt, and travel, and finally marry on such a wretched pittance? The younger son realises this, and has decided the question for himself.

The army, he avers, is a delusion, bristling with stiff examinations and difficult cramming. The navy is the same, and a hard profession to boot. The church is dull, old-fashioned, and impossible. The bar, precarious, disappointing, and liable to unpleasantly weary drudgery. So the younger son has invented for himself a new profession. The pseudo Sir Roger Tichborne once said, “Some men has money, and some has brains”; and the younger son has been shrewd enough to lay this axiom to heart. With brains you can fatten at other people’s expense; with brains you can make men pay a share of your cost and your keep, and, while enjoying all the fruits of riches, yet preserve yourself unspotted from their responsibilities.

So we see a man whose nominal capital is three hundred a year—scarcely sufficient to satisfy the claims of his tobacconist or his bootmaker—back an animal for seven hundred pounds in a race, or buy a thorough-bred horse for a “cool thousand,” or sport a phaeton and a pair of the very best steppers London can produce, or keep an excellent cook, and nice rooms magnificently furnished, in which he gives capital dinners to a select party of friends!

How is this done? Who pays for the perfect fitting clothes, the well-brushed hats, the variety of suits, and the daintily varnished boots that come from the most expensive makers? Who settles the bills and accounts for the rent, and enables the man to show a smiling, unruffled countenance, and a brow free from care? These people seem born with a silver spoon in their mouths; they have apparently no cares and troubles like other folk; they flourish as the wicked were formerly supposed to do, like a green bay-tree.

Yet who could call these smooth-faced, well-dressed, agreeable young gentlemen wicked? They have a great success with women, around whom they flutter as the butterfly ranges among the flowers. They frequently marry heiresses, and their wives are generally better dressed and their establishments better conducted than those of their rich elder brothers. Society smiles upon them; and they, in their turn, smile upon Society. The motto of these fortunate persons is: “Nothing is so successful as success.”

The Gentlewoman in Society by Lady Violet Greville (1892)

The Prettiest Debutantes of 1904


prettiest debutantes in society

SOME years ago it had become the fashion in London to look upon girls almost as a negligible quantity in the social fabric. In those days a “girls’ ball ” was a very insignificant entertainment indeed, and suggested an uninteresting supper, indifferent champagne, and a masculine dancing contingent entirely composed of boys and patriarchs, the girls’ ball being, as a rule, studiously avoided by young men who had been about town for a few years. With the beginning of the new century, however, there is no doubt that the girl has been slowly but surely coming to the front, and this season in particular she has triumphantly vindicated the importance of her position in London Society. Balls and parties were almost entirely dedicated to the young generation, and even the debutante, to whom her first season is not always a period of unalloyed pleasure, put in what our Transatlantic cousins call a very “good time.”

Lady Mary Hamilton

First and foremost among these newcomers on the social horizon is Lady Mary Hamilton, better known to her friends and intimates as Lady “Molly,” only child of Mary, Duchess of Hamilton, and of the late Duke, whose princely hospitality and general magnificence had earned for him abroad, where he chiefly resided, the sobriquet of Le Grand Duc. Immensely wealth}’, of Royal descent on one side through her grandmother, Princess Marie of Baden, and, on the other, the granddaughter of the Duchess of Devonshire, who occupies a unique position in London Society, Lady Mary Hamilton may, without disparagement to the others, be termed the debutante par excellence of the year. Unlike her grandmother, however, she is never likely to reign a social queen, not because she is for any reason unfitted for such a position, but because her tastes and inclinations lie in a totally different direction. She is devoted to hunting, to gardening, to animals—to everything, in fact, which cannot well be obtained within sound of Bow Bells, and is at present rather inclined to look upon her sojourns in London as so much wasted time. She is foremost among the young Dianas of the day, and has followed in the footsteps of her mother, Mary, Duchess of Hamilton, who was one of the finest riders to hounds in the “grass country.”

In appearance, Lady Mary has a strong look of her father, the late Duke. She is fair, of middle height, and with frank, pleasant manners which make her popular with everyone. Of her many possessions, the Island of Arran, in the Firth of Clyde, is the most important, and undoubtedly the most picturesque. If, as seems probable, all the building schemes for the development of the island, so long talked of, are carried out, Lady Mary may, in the future, be one of the greatest heiresses in the world.

Lady Marjorie Geville

Another of the season’s debutantes is Lady Marjorie Greville, the only daughter of Lord and Lady Warwick. She is a delightful little lady, thoroughly unaffected, with pretty brown eyes and hair, and, without possessing the transcendent beauty of her mother, she is nevertheless very good to look upon. Like Lady Mary Hamilton, Lady Marjorie loves the country and country pursuits; but in spite of her taste for all things rural, she has taken kindly to the various pleasures afforded by London hfe. This year Lady Warwick took Lord Tweedmouth’s large house in Park Lane, which appropriately enough bears the name of Brook House, Brooke being the title borne by Lord Warwick’s eldest son. Here the Wednesday evening dances given by that incomparable hostess were among the pleasantest parties of the season, and everyone remarked how well her young daughter seconded her in entertaining their guests. Lady Marjorie, who is very popular with other girls, speaks several foreign languages with ease and fluency, and finished her education in Paris.

Lady Viola Talbot, daughter of the premier Earl, is one of the most admired of the girls going out this season, and has inherited much of the beauty of that well-known personage in Society, her grandmother, Theresa, Lady Shrewsbury, and of her aunt, Lady Londonderry. The latter, who is daughterless, so far as having a daughter to take out is concerned, since the marriage of Lady Helen Stewart to Lord Stavordale, often chaperones her pretty niece, and when she is unable to do so, Lady Shrewsbury undertakes the charge.

In addition to her good looks, Lady Viola is very bright and clever, which gifts may also be said to be hereditary, as Lady Londonderry is almost as talented as she is handsome, and Lady Shrewsbury has long been famous for her wonderful taste. Indeed, many people consider her the pioneer of the revolt against the hideous stylo of furniture and house decoration which we still suffered under in the “sixties,” and without being exactly the creator of the “house beautiful,” she may be said to have been among the first to originate the movement to which we owe the regeneration of the interior of our modern dwellings.

Lady Guendolen Godolphin-Osborne, who came out this season, is the eldest daughter of the Duchess of Leeds. In appearance she rather resembles her mother, that graceful and charming woman, who, owing to delicate health, has lived more out of England of late years than her many friends could wish. Lady Guendolen has naturally accompanied the Duchess abroad, and is an excellent linguist, speaking French and Italian to perfection. She has three sisters and a very important little brother, Lord Carmarthen, who has only lately made his appearance on the scene. Lady Guendolen spends many months every year at Bordighera, where the Duke of Leeds has built a beautiful villa.

Lady Muriel Gordon-Lennox

A very pretty girl among those who have newly come out is Lady Muriel Gordon-Lennox, the elder daughter of Lord March by his second marriage, and granddaughter of the Duke of Richmond. Lady Muriel is unfortunately motherless, and has made her appearance in Society under the wing of her aunt, Lady Caroline Gordon-Lennox. Her half-sisters, Lady Violet Brassey (one of the most successful of London hostesses) and Lady Evelyn Cotterell, have also on occasion taken charge of her. Lady Muriel has a younger sister, Lady Helen Gordon-Lennox, who is just seventeen, and will be one of next year’s debutantes.

Miss Diana Sturt, granddaughter of Lord Alington and daughter of Mr. and Lady Feodorowna Sturt, was one of the interesting presentations at the Court this year. As her mother was not going out just then, her aunt, Mrs. Hardinge, was her sponsor on that momentous occasion in a debutante’s career.

Miss Sturt much resembles Lady Feodorowna Sturt, with the same dark hair and fine eyes, although she is very much taller than her mother. She is gifted with an exceptionally good voice, and will probably sing charmingly later on. Up to the moment of her appearance on the social scene, she has been deeply engaged with her studies, and has received a somewhat severe education. At Mrs. Adair’s fancy ball earlier m the season, Miss Sturt chose to represent “Diana” in the Olympian quadrille, and her tall and rather stately figure admirably rendered one’s idea of the goddess.

Miss Bampfylde, whose father will one day be Lord Poltimore, is a remarkably pretty girl, who inherits the proverbial beauty of the Sheridans through her grandmother, Lady Poltimore. Although this is her first season, she is already one of the most popular girls in London, and her mother, Mrs. Bampfylde, who is an excellent hostess, has given several successful dances for her debutante daughter.

Miss Post, whose mother, Lady Barry more, hails from the other side of the Atlantic, is, although strictly speaking an American, practically British, as she has lived most of her life over here. She is a niece of Mrs. Adair, one of London’s best-known hostesses, and at the famous fancy ball was one of those who figured in the “Irish” quadrille.

Miss Post is a remarkably graceful dancer, and on the occasion in question looked charming in her quaint green draperies embroidered with shamrock, and with a little Irish harp in her hair. Lady Barrymore, who has lived more in Ireland than in England (her husband, Mr. Smith Barry, now Lord Barrymore, having represented Co. Cork in Parliament for many years), is still very handsome, and as beautiful Miss Lizzie Wadsworth created quite a sensation when she first came to Europe. She has been twice married, her first husband having been an American, Mr. Arthur Post.

Miss Colgate

Miss Colgate, the daughter of Cora, Lady Strafford, who made her first appearance in London this season, although a general favourite, is by no means devoted to Society, and cares very little for going out. She is extremely clever and intellectual, without the least suspicion of the “blue-stocking” about her. Miss Colgate is immensely tall, with a graceful carriage and a charming, thoughtful face. Her mother, who is a very cultured woman—another, by the way, of our “American peeresses”—is a thorough musician and an exceptionally fine performer on the piano. She is the widow of the late Lord Strafford, better remembered as Sir Henry Byng, who was for so many years one of the most trusted members of Queen Victoria’s Household.

Algitha Turnor

Miss Algitha Turnor, who is of a more ethereal type of beauty, is the daughter of Mr. and Lady Henrietta Turnor, who took 17 Cadogan Square from the Dowager Lady Manners during the early part of the season, after which they were not in town. Miss Turnor is a very pretty girl, with a rather shy manner, which is extremely attractive, and she possesses that most precious attribute, charm.

Miss Abercromby

Another “daughter of the gods, divinely tall,” is Miss Abercromby, whose mother, Lady Baring, married first Sir Robert Abercromby, of Forglen, Aberdeenshire, and secondly Lord Baring, Lord Northbrook’s eldest son. Miss Abercromby was one of the most admired of the debutantes presented at the first Court in May, and her slender figure and fair hair never appeared to greater advantage. Lady Baring gave a ball for her daughter at Lord Northbrook’s beautiful town house, the original date of which had to be altered owing to the illness of Miss Abercromby’s younger sister.

A mignonne beauty, of what our neighbours across the Channel call the “keepsake” order, is Miss Dorothy Sinclair, who, as befits a Scottish maiden, made her first curtsey to her Sovereign at that picturesque function, the Drawing-Room held at Holyrood in May. Miss Sinclair has a lovely little face, with wonderful colouring, and is further fortunate in making her entry into the world of London under the aegis of her aunt, Mrs. Owen Williams, who takes her out, as her mother is not fond of Society. Miss Sinclair is the granddaughter of Sir Tollemache Sinclair, the well-known art connoisseur and owner of Thurso Castle in the far North, where the sea beats about the foot of the terrace wall, and the inhabitants, if so minded, can indulge in the “gentle sport” from the drawing room windows.

There is quite a little phalanx of charming Irish debutantes, which includes Lady Blanche Conyngham, a sister of the young Lord Conyngham who figured as one of the Royal pages at the Coronation. Lady Blanche, who is small, with delicate features and bright brown hair, is sometimes chaperoned by her grandmother, the Dowager Lady Conyngham, and sometimes by her aunt, who is Lady Blanche, like herself. Then there is Lady Aline Dawson-Damer, Lady Portarlington’s daughter, who has a good deal of her mother’s attractiveness; pretty Miss Rose O’Neill, Lord O’Neill’s daughter, who as often as not is chaperoned by her young sister-in-law, who last year was Lady Annabel Crewe-Milnes, and married Lord O’Neill’s eldest son; and Miss Claire [sic] Frewen, who is half American on her mother’s side and a niece of Mrs. George Cornwallis West [Clare was the daughter of Jennie’s eldest sister, Clara].