Common name (also British Association House) for a historically significant building in the Gregorian style in the Portuguese port city postage, It was obtained from British port wine trading houses under Consul John Whitehead in 1790 (a previous building built in 1727 was elsewhere). It is the only "factories" that still exist, in which "factors" (trade commissioners) once negotiated and concluded their business on foreign territory. The British wine dealers who meet regularly in the factories decisively influenced the business with the port wine, The foundation stone for the port wine boom was the one already completed in 1703 and called Methuen Treaty designated contract, which provides special tariffs for imports of Portuguese wines into England envisaged. As a result, the British achieved an absolute monopoly on the port wine trade.
At the numerous meetings of the factors, prices were agreed without the involvement of the Portuguese authorities, which was increasingly criticized by the Portuguese side. To break the monopoly, the Portuguese Prime Minister Marques de Pombal (1699-1782) in 1756 initiated the foundation of the "Douro Wine Company" (also "Real Companhia Velha"). Due to British business practices, riots and riots spread throughout the city of Porto in February 1757, which were suppressed by 3,000 soldiers. Pombal was primarily responsible for the occurrence of the factors and reacted severely to the British and their sympathizers. Property was seized and jailed, 26 factory members banished to Africa and India. This ended the British monopoly. The new building was then moved to in 1790, as already mentioned.
In 1806, due to the historical role of the British in the port wine trade, the building was awarded "from that day and forever to the consul of the British nation and its society and its heirs" . The French fell in during the Napoleonic Wars Portugal a, between 1807 and 1811 the Factory House was therefore temporarily closed. As early as 1810, the English king George III. (1738-1820) and the Portuguese royal family, in the person of the Prince Regent, signed a trade agreement that no longer allowed British factories in Portugal. Therefore the factories were closed and replaced by the "British Association". The members are only recruited from the British port wine trading houses.
Among the many rooms in the building are a columned entrance hall with a monumental staircase, as well as a card room, a salon, a dance hall, a library and a ballroom. It also has an Anglican church, cricket and tennis club, and the oldest British school outside of England. It still serves as a men's club and meeting point exclusively for the remaining British port wine trade organizations. Today, however, these “only” generate a third of sales. Traditionally, the "Wednesday lunch" takes place, but today mainly Portuguese (as managing directors of British companies) dine and discuss the wine industry. See also under Marques de Pombal,