Madeira Hotel - Quinta Casa Velha do Palheiro - Luxury Country House

 
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John Burden Blandy

John Burden Blandy
1841 - 1912

John Burden was the grandson of John Blandy who came to Madeira in the early 19th century and established himself in the wine business. John Burden lived and worked in Madeira and in 1862 formed the firm of Blandy Brothers and Co. which then also included coal, shipping, foreign bank commissions and other commercial activities.

After a row with his father Charles Ridpath , he took off to Durban with his wife  in 1866 and set up various business enterprises including a cornmill which burnt down uninsured. Returning to Madeira shortly after, he and his brother settled down and re-entered the family business which he was to expand and develop including a coaling business in the Canary Islands.

He worked in the Funchal wine lodges at Rua São Francisco, ruled the firm with a rod of iron, had great business acumen and was the architect of the firm's fortunes.

In 1885 he bought the land and buildings of Palheiro at public auction after the bankruptcy of the second Count of Carvalhal. At the time he was much criticized by his family as they perceived Palheiro to be a white elephant with expensive upkeep and far removed from his place of business . However, he managed to get to the office by running car, returning on horseback.

In 1891 he built a new house on higher land above the gardens where the family live today and so the original Count's house became known as the Casa Velha or Old House.

John Burden and his wife Margaret devoted much time to the gardens continuing the work started by the first Count; he also built the reservoir for irrigation water at the northern end of the estate, stables and a sawmill all of which are in use today.

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