Common name (also British Association House) for a historically important Georgian-style building in the Portuguese port city postage, It was occupied in 1790 by British port wine merchant houses under Consul John Whitehead (a predecessor building already built in 1727 was elsewhere). It is the only existing "facto" in which once "factors" (trading commissioners) negotiated and concluded their business on foreign territory. The British wine merchants, who regularly meet in the factories, decisively influenced the business with the port wine, The foundation stone for the port wine boom was laid by the already completed in 1703 and as Methuen Treaty designated special customs tariff concessions on imports of Portuguese wines in England envisaged. As a result, the British gained an absolute monopoly on the port wine trade.
In the numerous meetings of the factors the prices were agreed without involvement of the Portuguese authorities, which was criticized ever more strongly by the Portuguese side. To break the monopoly, was by the Portuguese Prime Minister Marquês de Pombal (1699-1782) in 1756 initiated the founding of the "Douro Wine Company" (also called "Real Companhia Velha"). Due to British business practices, there was riots and riots in the whole city of Porto in February 1757, which were suppressed by 3,000 soldiers. Pombal made the events primarily responsible for the factors and responded to British and their sympathizers with harsh penalties. There was confiscation of property and imprisonment, 26 factory members were banished to Africa and India. The monopoly position of the British was over. The new building was then moved to 1790 as already mentioned.
In 1806, because of the historic role of the British in port trading, the building was "from that day and forever awarded to the consul of the British nation and its society and their heirs ." During the Napoleonic wars, the French fell in Portugal On, between 1807 and 1811, the factory house was temporarily closed. Already in 1810, the English king George III. (1738-1820) and the Portuguese royal house signed a trade agreement in the person of the Prince Regent, which did not permit British factories in Portugal. Therefore the factories were dissolved and replaced by the "British Association". The members are recruited exclusively from the British port wine merchants.
Amongst the many rooms of the building there is a pillar entrance hall with monumental staircase, as well as a ticket room, a salon, a dance hall, a library and a ballroom. It also has an Anglican church, a cricket and tennis club, and the oldest British school outside of England. It still serves as a men's club and meeting place exclusively for the remaining British port wine trading organizations. Today, however, these generate "only" more than one third of the turnover. Traditionally, the "Wednesday Lunch" takes place, but today mainly Portuguese (as the CEO of British companies) dine and discuss the wine industry. See also below Marquês de Pombal,