Friday, 5 August 2016

Bodegas: Campbell & Co.

Charles Sutton Campbell was born in Edmonton, London, in 1805. He was a partner in a merchant business which ran plantations in Jamaica, but he hated the slavery system and moved to El Puerto de Santa María to try the Sherry trade instead where he set up in business as a wine producer and wholesaler with a partner, Mr. BR Hodges under the name Campbell & Hodges. The partnership was dissolved in 1843 and he traded thenceforth and successfully as Campbell & Co.

In 1834 he married María Luisa Walsh Lynch in El Puerto and she bore him five children but died only nine years later, aged only 40. Campbell bought three small sloping parcels of vineyard from Juana Lynch, Francisco Martínez and María-Dolores Vaca in the Pago Balbaina near El Puerto between 1844 and 1850. He then unified them along with the casa de viña under the name of his late wife. Here the wine was made for subsequent transportation to the bodega.

This was a smart edifice in the Campo de Guia area of the city with 2,500 square metres. It had five aisles and a patio with a well where the coopers worked. Behind the building was a pretty orchard called Santa Susana, with a little house, a well and a pond. It is still standing and situated at the corner of Calle Valdés and Calle San Bartolomé.

Campbell was British Vice Consul in El Puerto between 1834 and 1883 and lived in a lovely house in the Calle Larga. Queen Isabel II and her cortege would visit the house in 1862. In 1849 at Woolwich, Campbell married Margaret Murray, fifteen years his junior, with whom he had six more children, however on his death it would be his son by his first marriage, Juan Campbell Walsh (b 1840), who would take over the business. The business was presumably sold to Osborne, but the bodega has lain empty in recent years. Plans were lodged at the Ayuntamiento to develop the site into a commercial complex, but so far nothing has happened.

Although Campbell had married the Catholic María Luisa in a Catholic ceremony, he was actually a protestant, and as he grew older he decided to establish a British (protestant) cemetery and bought land from El Puerto council at Palmar de la Victoria. It was a walled area with trees and gardens, and here Campbell was laid to rest in 1885. But over time, and as the British community in El Puerto shrank, it fell into disrepair and is now the site of a shopping mall. 

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