Here are more photos of Luz supposedly from the early 20th century. I cannot discern anything in them to confirm this date, but I have no reason to assume the date is inaccurate.
Although early 20th century appears to have little to do with Madeleine McCann, it does put into context how Luz evolved up to the time that the Ocean Club was built. That in turn impacts the fact that the Ocean Club is not a private complex. Rather, it is completely interwoven with public roads and areas. That in turn means that it is impossible for the Ocean Club to have CCTV, with the exception of a few internal areas.
If these photos are really from around the 1900s, there is an implication. Today, Luz regularly gets an influx of visitors from Lisbon and Oporto. I was having a sea-front discussion on 2 May 2017, and the café had a large contingent of Portuguese customers, in groupings which looked like tourists rather than locals. But Lisbon is 3 hours away in a modern car on a modern motorway. How long did it take in horse-drawn transport or early cars?
Have a look at this photo.
These are the rocks to the south of the Fortaleza, and the view is east towards Rocha Negra. The ladies appear to be dressed in their Sunday finest. The photo is as posed as posed can be. It looks as if someone may have hand-tinted the photo to add some red effects to the clouds, but that could have other explanations, such as originating with the scanning process.
I have no expertise whatsoever in Portuguese historical clothing, so I cannot use it as a clue.
However, the length of time today for the trip from Lisbon suggest this group is not from there, but much closer. I have already posted photos of early Luz, which show some large buildings on 25th April Street, so a possibility is wealthy citizens of Luz, perhaps after a Sunday visit to Nossa Senhora da Luz.
Gonçalo Amaral raises an alternative possibility in his book A Verdade da Mentira. He suggests that Luz had a certain popularity with the citizens of Lagos, and in the early 20th century, that journey would not have been hard either by horse and carriage or by early motor transport.
Here is another photograph, this time taken near the small beach, to the west of the main beach.
The clothes appear to me to be slightly less up-market, though I would still describe them as posh. This is less posed, but the thing that is interesting is that everyone is on the rocks. No-one is actually on the little beach.
The 1492 in the bottom has no real significance. The Fortaleza was built much later. I have yet to find out what Vivenda Mascarenhas means.
This last photo simply gives a pictorial idea of the scale of fishing in Luz a century or so ago.
The legend says ‘fishermen washing the nets on the beach.’ Presumably, the catch has been taken into Luz to be processed, and the nets need to be cleaned of fish remains before storing them.
It looks like 8 sailing ships to me, each much larger than a row-boat, and each powered by sail. There are 13 fishermen involved in this washing of the nets. I don’t know whether this is the only net used, or whether each boat came near the beach in turn and the collective then helped to wash that particular net.
From the size of the mesh, it looks like they were fishing for very large fish, such as tuna.
The fishing industry in Luz would slowly decline, and cross over with the tourist industry when it began to take off.