One of the things I enjoy about living in Lisbon is there is so much to learn about the city. I have recently discovered the ‘Historic Shops Project’, set up by the City Council in February 2015, in recognition of the role these establishments have in the city’s identity and character, and to ensure the conservation and revitalisation of this heritage. The project states,
‘One of the priorities of the city of Lisbon is to work with the traditional and historic businesses in the city with a view to conserving and protecting them and their material, historic and cultural heritage and energising and reinvigorating the commercial activities essential for their existence. It was with this objective in mind that Lisbon City Council launched its programme, which is a first in Portugal.’
Dotted all over the city centre, these shops can be identified by the ‘Lojas com Historias’ sign located somewhere on front of the building. They all have their own unique stories, I thought you might like to know about some of them.
I’m starting with Caza das Vellas Loreto, which is one of Lisbon’s oldest shops. It is has been in the same building, owned by the same family, producing and selling the same products, candles, since 1789.
The Luvaria Ulisses, a glove shop, was founded in 1925 by Joaquim Rodrigues Simões. The shop’s tiny interior, it is the size of a cupboard, was created by Carlos de Alcântara Knotz, a wood carver, and the original interior is still maintained today. Made-to-measure gloves in seven different sizes are sold here, they are made in a nearby workshop in Travessa do Almada.
Ferragens Guedes was founded in 1922 by Luís Guedes da Silva, who sold the items he produced in his foundries, in this shop. The shop is lined with cupboards containing the item attached to the outside, it has just about every item that one may need to complete a piece of furniture, open or close a door, a window or even a safe.
Pequeno Jardim, (Little Garden) founded in 1922, is an example of the ‘shop under the stairs’, literally it’s a shop installed in a building’s entrance hallway, so it is very small, which is why the flowers and plants are displayed on the pavement. The iron-framed, Art Nouveau inspired shop window, has a painted glass shop sign on the façade naming the shop’s founder. Florists are quite rare in the centre of Lisbon, so it’s a joy to have this pop of colour on the street.
The Ginjinha Sem Rival shop was founded towards the end of the 19th century by the current proprietors’ grandfather, João Lourenço Cima. The original interior had the Art Deco influenced work added after 1920. It opens from 8 in the morning until midnight, selling Ginjinha, (also called ginja). The original recipe for Ginjinha was created by a monk, who was inspired to ferment Morello cherries in brandy, with lots of sugar, water and cinnamon. Ginja is served in small glasses, costing around €1.40 a shot, one can drink it with or without the cherries at any time of the day, and usually while standing on the pavement, because the traditional ginja shops, like this one, are quite small and only have a serving counter, not table and chairs. It is a very popular tipple in Lisbon and one often sees queues at ginja shops.
This shop makes it’s own ginja and also supplies other ginja houses too. If you have visited Lisbon and either drank or bought a bottle of Ginja Sem Revival, this is where it was made. The shop also makes and sells a liqueur called Eduardino, named after the clown pictured on the bottle’s label, (just seen on the counter on the above photo). The clown, who performed in a theatre near the shop, was a regular customer here and liked to drink a concoction of ginja, herbs and spices. It became so popular it was produced and bottled, with the trademark registered in 1908, and as the sign states, it is the only place where you can drink Eduardino.
The sign above this tiny little shop front states that this is a hairdressers, ‘Cabelleireiro’, spelt with double ‘L’, is the old way of spelling hairdresser, it is actually a barbers, Barbearia Campos. Founded in 1886, by the Campos & Costa company, the business was taken over by José Augusto de Campos, when the company was dissolved in 1920, and has remained in his family since then. Apart from a temporary move to another premises when the building was being renovated, the business has operated at this site since 1886, and is the oldest barber shop in Portugal.
The shop still has some original features, the marble sinks and counter, and the tiled floor. The chrome chairs were a 20th century addition. Displays of original tools used in beard and hair care sit along side contemporary tools. The huge board has details of some of their famous customers.