Former building of the Cabido da Sé de Évora, the building that houses the Collection of Carriages was acquired by Vasco Maria Eugénio de Almeida in 1959 with the purpose of integrating it in the built structure of Páteo de São Miguel and for temporarily transferring the headquarters of the Recreative and Dramatic Eborense Society that for decades occupied the noble halls of the Paço de São Miguel.
Opened to the public since 1998 and subject to requalification between 2011 and 2012, the Collection of Carriages brings together the trailers and travel utilities that were found at the service of Casa Eugénio de Almeida between the second half of the 19th century and the first years of the 20th century.
Acquired from Europe's leading manufacturers, chariots arrived in Lisbon on ready-to-use or assembled sailboats and steamboats, piece by piece. The luxurious refinement of the finishes, the elegance in the presentation of the horses, also imported from France, Antwerp or England, the laborious details of the harnesses and coupling devices, the pomp of the coachman and the trinecarist, or the costs associated with the acquisition and maintenance of the carriages constituted, in the urban environments of the 19th century, a clear manifestation of the social status of its occupants.
Based in Lisbon, it is in this universe that the Eugénio de Almeida family moves and from which the carriages and the "social trips" to which they gave color were one of their many manifestations.
From the end of the 19th century onwards, and especially in the early years of the 20th century, the use of coaches began to be gradually replaced by the automobile, which was more comfortable and, above all, faster.
In the case of the Eugénio de Almeida family, the transition between the two worlds began in 1907 with the acquisition of the first car. The stables located in the Santa Gertrudes Park, an integral part of the Palácio de São Sebastião da Pedreira, in Lisbon, then undergo the first adaptation works in order to be converted into "car gare" while the "outdated" carriages are dispatched via the road for the family properties in Évora.
Decades later, when the carriages were no more than a mere reminiscence of the past, recorded in family albums, progress once again restored to the vertigo of history a new world conflict. With World War II also came the revelation that it was necessary to restrict the use of fuels, now fundamental on the battlefields, where the combat was also mechanized.
Rationing was imposed worldwide. Emptiness of automobiles, the old carriages were soon to be rescued from the diaphanous cloak of time. The harnesses, the ping-pong, and the glow of the lanterns, now battery-powered, once again colored the streets, squares, and avenues of the place, to the sound of the horses and the carriage wheels.
When the war was over, the situation quickly took its toll and the automobiles proved to be inescapable. Despite being deprecated, the carriages of the family were never neglected, as were the objects fundamental to its use, assuming the importance of its conservation and restoration, which allows us to enjoy this collection at the Eugénio Foundation by Almeida.