The origins of Livraria Lello take us back to 1881, when the brothers José and António Lello opened in Porto an establishment dedicated to the commerce and edition of books.
José and António Lello were born in Santa Marta de Penaguião, sons of a landowner. José Lello was the first one to come to Porto. A man of culture, lover of reading, books and music, he dreamed of becoming a bookseller, a dream came true in 1881. Few years later, the two brothers created the company José Pinto de Sousa Lello & Irmão. These two were part of a circle of bourgeois and intellectual assets in Oporto. Republicans, make a point of getting involved in public life, in the industrial and commercial development of the city and in its cultural activity.
The story of the Livraria Lello is also the story of the Lello brothers. José and António Lello were born in Casa de Ramadas, in Fontes, in Santa Marta de Penaguião, children of a rural proprietor. José Lello was the first to come to Porto. A man of culture, lover of reading, books and music, he dreams of becoming a bookseller, which is what happened to the opening of the first bookstore and publishing house in 1881 with his brother-in-law. After his death, José Lello is José Pinto de Sousa Lello & Irmão, with his brother António Lello, 9 years younger.
The two brothers, known in the city as the united brothers, are part of a circle of bourgeois and intellectual assets of Porto. As Republicans, they became absolutely involved in public life, in the industrial and commercial development of the city, and in its cultural activity at the beginning of the century.
At this time Lello brothers settled in Rua do Almada, unaware that the building that would take its name until the next millennium was only a few blocks away. The editorial activity of "Lello e Irmãos" was marked by a passion for books and culture. This love for art resulted in creation of special editions, edited in reduced numbers, with the collaboration of plastic artists, as illustrators and painters, and with great graphic care.
In 1894, José Pinto de Sousa Lello buys the Chardron Bookshop to owners, with with all its exclusive archive. Although it was already in other hands, this bookshop had made its name by the hand of the french Ernesto Chardron. This influential editor was a booster of the sector, having published the first editions of iconic works like those of Eça de Queirós or Camilo Castelo Branco, for example. This ambitious expansion of "Lello e Irmãos" needed to be accompanied by grandious change.
The building at Rua das Carmelitas is then shaped by the magnificent vision of engineer Francisco Xavier Esteves. In 1906 the space is inaugurated as we know it today - and the sensation that caused, in the city at that time, still echoes in this mandatory place for all visitors of Oporto.