November 26, 2022

Newman’s Farm, Kyrenia

By Margaret Sheard …

I developed a fascination about this place which disappeared many years ago and is now the site of the Chinese House Restaurant.

A couple of years ago, while contributing articles to the Cyprus Observer, I wrote an account of information I had gleaned about Newman’s Farm which used to be the site which has been partly occupied for the last 18 years by The Chinese House.

My original interest in Newman’s Farm was as a result of telling my Chiropodist in the UK that I was coming to live in North Cyprus and she mentioned the farm which she remembered from when she was here with her parents (probably late 1950’s). I didn’t think much about this subject until after I had moved to North Cyprus and then suddenly wondered where this farm was. Of course it no longer exists and then came my fascination in finding out what I could about it.

I have recently made contact with Patricia Newman, who is the daughter of Charlie one of the sons of the original owners, and with information she has supplied from the family I am now able to update my previous version which I realise had a lot of misinformation. For this reason I am starting afresh and hope our readers will enjoy this very nice glimpse of the past, although you can still read the original articles and comments by clicking here and clicking here.

On the road from Girne to Karaoğlanoğlu there is an excellent restaurant called The Chinese House, the building is the ground floor of the original farmhouse which was built by Philip and Evelyn Newman in 1922 on the 9 donums of land they had bought when they arrived in North Cyprus. They later acquired a cow which was in calf and then another and this was the start of the herd of cows at Newman’s Farm which attracted many servicemen and visitors to sample the fresh milk and cream teas which they served under the name Newman’s Milk Bar, and was started for the purpose of using the surplus milk they suddenly found they needed to dispose of.

Philip Newman and Evelyn (nee Leech-Porter) were married in 1922 and came to Cyprus to start a new life, they had 2 sons – Charles Philip, born in 1923 and Christopher John born in 1928. They had built a one storey house on their land and when Christopher John came along they decided to enlarge the house by building an upper floor which was completed in 1929.

Our story follows Charles (known as Charlie) who helped his mother with the milk bar and also delivered milk around the area.

Charlie was married in 1951 to Joan and their first child, a boy, was born in November 1951 but sadly Michael John Newman only lived for one day. In May 1953 they were blessed with a daughter – Penelope, and on 7th September 1954 a son – Philip. This was another sad time for Charlie as Joan died 5 days after giving birth to Philip.

We have located the graves in the Old British Cemetery of both Joan and the firstborn child Michael John. The baby’s grave is a full sized plot with a very old cross and a second one which marks the grave as Michael John Newman born 4/11/1951 died 5/11/1951. We are aware that Philip Newman, the original owner of Newman’s Farm, died in Cyprus on 27th December 1947 and wondered if this was also his grave. We have since been advised by the family in the UK that the baby was in fact buried with his grandfather, Philip Newman, so the mystery seems to have been solved. .

Charlie was married for a second time to Rosalind in 1956 and they had 3 children, all girls and with the two children from Charlie’s first marriage they became a close family unit. It is one of the girls from the marriage of Charlie and Rosalind – Patricia – who I have been able to make contact with and who has supplied me with a lot of information to correct the original article. Patricia was born in Cyprus in 1958. In the 1950’s there were troubled times brewing in Cyprus and the family decided to move back to England which they did in 1959.

Following the original article I received a few comments from ex-servicemen who remembered Newman’s Farm and they have said what a lovely place it was to visit to have fresh milk, cream teas and see the cows, which was not a familiar sight in Cyprus in those early years. The current owner of The Chinese House, Hűseyin Kanbur, loaned some photographs to me of the site when it was Newman’s Farm and I am including these in this article as a token of nostalgia for days gone by.

After the family left Cyprus in 1959, the property changed hands a few times, then over the following years it was left to fall into disrepair and virtually all of the upper floor disappeared, leaving a crumbling one storey shell of the original building. I find this so sad, but at least this part of the building has been restored and the land at the front has been made into a nice garden. The land at the rear of the building, which originally belonged to the farm and ran almost down to the sea, is now part of a military establishment, and this included an ornamental pond that was built by the original Philip Newman. I wonder if it is still there? I am told that it is.

I was so pleased to make contact with Pat Newman who has been so helpful with information about the family and even more pleased to be able to meet up with Lara Newman who lives in Australia and is the great grand-daughter of Philip and Evelyn Newman. Lara has been touring around Europe with her new husband and came to Cyprus for a couple of days so we had made arrangements to show them as much as we could, especially the site of Lara’s great grandparents home here and the cemetery where some of the earlier Cyprus Newmans are buried.

We met up with Lara and her new husband Richard Sholl and had a day of showing them around various places of interest to Lara and her roots. We actually had a meal at the Chinese House that evening so this must have been very moving for Lara to be eating in the very house where her father had spent his early years. To see the article about Lara’s visit click here.

There is so much more to tell of this fascinating story and I have been lucky enough to be provided with “Evelyn’s Memoirs” by the present day Newman family. This follows the life Philip and Evelyn experienced in North Cyprus, the memoirs were written by Evelyn in 1962 and we will be publishing this in instalments, exactly as it was written by her. It really makes lovely reading and recaptures life in North Cyprus from 1922 to 1959.

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