The Blandys of Madeira

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The Blandys of Madeira

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In celebration of Blandys bicentenary and wishing to share old family documents and letters that would otherwise never come to light, the Blandy family asked renowned English author Marcus Binney, to bring together some of the history behind the 200 years of the Blandys.

The book entitled 'The Blandys of Madeira 1811- 2011' is a personal family perspective of society from the early 19th century to nowadays, the book travels through the beginning and evolution of the business, the family intrigues and responsibilities as well as the huge challenges and opportunities that were encountered and surpassed over a period of 200 years.

Published by Frances Lincoln the book will be available in English and Portuguese in shops in Madeira, mainland Portugal and the United Kingdom.

"This is the story of a merchant dynasty founded two centuries ago on the Atlantic island of Madeira by a young Englishman in search of better living. Today the Blandys are best known as the leading shippers of Madeira wine but, from the foundation of the firm in 1811, they built up an extensive trading business, sending shipments of wine and goods across the oceans, to North America and Carribean, to India and the Baltic. The family made remarkable sums from coaling and victualling passing ships, supplying both Yankees and Confederates during the American Civil War. While numerous English wine houses were ruined by the devastating wine plagues of the 1850s and 1870s the Blandys emerged with the world’s finest stock of vintage Madeiras, a tradition magnificently maintained at their Wine Lodge in Funchal.

With their growing fortune the Blandys built handsome town and country houses, notably the estate at Palheiro, where they have laid out one of the island’s most beautiful gardens, 1500 feet above sea level. Blandy’s became agents for many of the great liner companies sailing to the Cape and South America and for over 50 years were the owners of Reid’s, one of the world’s most legendary hotels. Now the Blandy hotel business is once again rapidly expanding, with new hotels in mainland Portugal and Brazil.

Marcus Binney tells the remarkable story of a family business which expanded into banking, insurance, ship repairs and car dealerships with verve and insight. The Blandys have survived drastic reverses caused by wars, depressions, family upheavals, two revolutions and inevitable commercial failures. Two hundred years after it was founded Blandy’s remains a family enterprise, initiating new ventures and still involving every generation of the family.

This book is of interest to lovers of wine, architecture and gardens. Above all it provides a vivid and candid insight into how to sustain a family business over two centuries - when to buy, when to sell, and when to hand over to a new generation."

Available on Madeira at the following locations: