“A spirit of hospitality since 1798″
20 St Swithins Lane has been the home of generosity and good cheer since the young Scot George Sandeman came down from Perthshire in 1798 to establish the Sandeman Port Company, a blender and bottler of Port wines from Portugal and Sherries from Spain which he exported to all corners of the globe.
Living above the cobbled courtyard at 20 St Swithins in what is to this day Sandeman House, George and his family were noted for fine food and splendid cellar, As one of his nephews wrote in 1814 “ I dined at my uncle’s in St Swithins Lane, where I reside, about six o’clock. Such late hours I dislike, otherwise, things were quite agreeable. The party consisted of six gentlemen, who seemed more or less connected with the French trade.
We had a variety of fine wines, claret and other kinds, whose names were quite new to me. I was tempted to take five or six glasses of Madeira, besides some others. Not being tempted to such liquors, I had some fever through the night, though my head was not affected at all.”
The Sandeman Port Company moved back to Oporto in 1968, but their sign still hangs outside The Don on St Swithins Lane and the spirit of hospitality remains.