Newman’s Farm, Kyrenia
By Margaret Sheard…
Maybe the visit of Patricia Newman (grand-daughter of Philip and Evelyn Newman) together with her husband Fred to Cyprus is the finale to my long-time research into the long gone Newman’s Farm, or maybe it isn’t! Perhaps this will result in more memories and recollections of other people who visited the farm between the early 1920’s and 1959 when the remaining Newman family returned to the UK.
There are many articles written about Newman’s Farm, Evelyn’s Memoirs and also the Chinese House, which is now on part of the site of the original farm and is the lower part of the original farm house. These can be read by visiting our Portfolio section by clicking here.
We had a wonderful week with Pat and Fred showing them the areas of interest connected with the Newman family, starting with a TV interview by Engin Dervişağa for his BRT Vox Pop programme which was recorded at The Chinese House with Hűseyin Kanbur, the current proprietor, present as well. Pat, was born at the Nicosia Army Hospital and spent the first year of her life at Newman’s Farm and I am sure that looking around the present day building, which is the lower floor of the original farm house, and the surrounding grounds must have been a very emotional experience for her.
It is 10 years since Pat last visited Cyprus, when she came with her Aunt Trish, the wife of Pat’s Uncle Christopher, and Pat was anxious to show her husband Fred the place where she was born and where her father, mother and grand-parents had lived for some 37 years. Trish had previously visited Cyprus many times with her husband, who was the second son of Philip and Evelyn Newman, so she had a lot of knowledge about the Newman family’s life in Cyprus.
When we left the Chinese House we visited Dizayn74 Pottery, where Pat had visited with her aunt on her previous trip to Cyprus. Hasan, one of the partners, had previously told us he remembered Pat visiting the Pottery and he was so pleased to see her again, especially as he clearly remembers her father, Charlie. They had a long chat while Fred wandered around with his trusty camera taking photos of the many and varied items of pottery on display.
We then moved on to show them the Houston cemetery and the building which was the Fine Arts Museum, unfortunately now inaccessible, both of which are mentioned in the memoirs of Pat’s grandmother Evelyn.
As well as being a nostalgic trip for Pat, it was also a holiday for both her and Fred so the next day was for them to chill out but we did arrange to have a meal at the Chinese House in the evening and so we collected them from their hotel and once again went back to “Pat’s House” for a lovely Chinese meal. It was an excellent evening, we had a superb meal and we were pleased to meet up with Hűseyin again and also his wife Ilknur and 2 sons Utku and Toyan. This is a lovely Cypriot family which has built up this very authentic Chinese Restaurant and have managed it very successfully for the past 18 years.
It is so strange how we find what a small world this is as when Chris was having a conversation with Pat it transpired that because of height restriction she wants to have a new kitchen with low worktop surfaces and Chris remembered designing a similar kitchen when he was in this trade in London many years ago. Pat was astounded to realise that she actually knew the family who had their kitchen designed and altered for their daughter by Chris. Small world indeed!
Mid-week we had a busy day starting off at the Round Tower where Richard Chamberlain was having a one day exhibition of his photographs and promoting his new 2015 Calendar – Cyprus Yesterday and Today. While we were there we listened in to the recording of a TV interview with Richard by Engin Dervişağa for his BRT Vox Pop show. We had a chance to meet up with Richard again and Pat was able to make a new entry in the Visitors’ Book which is where I initially found the information to make contact with her.
We then visited St Andrew’s Church so Pat could show Fred the plaque commemorating her grandfather, Philip Newman, who died 27th December 1947 and is buried in the Old British Cemetery, which was to be our next port of call.
On to the Old British Cemetery where we showed Pat and Fred the grave of her father Charlie’s first wife, Joan, who died 5 days after giving birth to their third child. Sadly, their first child, Michael John Newman, only lived for one day and he is buried in the same grave as his grandfather, Philip Newman. We were always a bit mystified about the 2 crosses on this grave, one clearly being that of the baby, but we have been advised by the Newman family that he was in fact buried with his grandfather, so the two lay together. We had asked Dorothy Ann Betts who wrote the book “Shadows of Empire – The Old British Cemetery Kyrenia about this and she said her research was held back due to the missing records during the 1974 period so our discovery was very much appreciated.
Charlie married again a few years later and Pat was the first child of this marriage, followed by 2 more sisters who were born after the family returned to the UK and settled in Devon. Talking to Pat during her visit I have learned a lot more about the family and one thing which could have made a lot of difference to the outcome of my research is that the Newman family, which then consisted of Charlie, his second wife Rosalind, and the 5 children had decided to emigrate to New Zealand, they had sold their business in Devon, disposed of most of their possessions and were ready to go when Charlie very suddenly and unexpectedly, died. This of course totally changed the plans of the family and they then moved to the London area.
I do not intend to delve into the personal lives of the Newman family, my main interest has always been the Newman’s Farm Milk Bar here in Kyrenia but it is strange how you do in fact get very drawn into a family history, and this one is no exception. We were delighted to meet up with Lara Newman and her new husband earlier in the year, who were on an extended honeymoon to the UK and Europe and they stopped off for 2 days in Cyprus, so we were so pleased to be able to show Lara her roots and the resting place of her grandmother (Joan Newman) and great-grandfather (Philip Newman). Lara’s father, Philip (son of Charlie and Joan) emigrated to Australia where his children were born so the Newman family now has a presence in Australia as well.
Following the visit to the cemetery we took Pat and Fred to the Paradise Club resort in Çatalköy which is owned by Engin Dervişağa’s family. Another strange coincidence is when visiting there recently we realised that both Engin’s father and mother remembered Newman’s Farm so what nicer than to take Pat to meet someone who knew and remembered her father. We met up with Engin’s father Ahmet, whose English is very good, and he and Pat had a lovely conversation about how he remembered the Morris Traveller car that Charlie used to deliver the milk in and meeting Charlie and his wife when they were shopping in town. Ahmet was young at the time but his memory was very clear about Charlie and the farm which he visited for milk shakes and ice cream during his younger days. I think Pat was rather overwhelmed by all of this but how nice for her to actually be able to speak to someone who remembers her father.
After this visit we took Pat and Fred to Bellapais so they could see the Abbey and after a look at the breathtaking views and many photographs by Fred, we sat and had a cool drink and some baklava before returning them to the hotel for a much needed siesta.
Chris had arranged with Can Gazi for him to do an interview with Pat and myself for his Cup of Conversation BRT TV programme and this was to be followed by a further radio interview with Denise Phillips, Radio Angel. I had been asked to establish some of Pat’s favourite songs for Denise to include in her radio broadcast, so all was set up ready for Friday.
Friday morning and off we went bright and early into Lefkoşa to visit the BRT studios. We journeyed through Dikmen to show Pat and Fred some of the area on the way and arrived at BRT in plenty of time to meet up with Can Gazi and have a chat before the recording of the programme A Cup of Conversation which was to feature Pat and myself talking about Pat’s connection with Newman’s Farm and Cyprus and me giving some information about my interest in Newman’s Farm.
Everything was set up and we settled down with Can who went through the interview in his normal professional manner and I think both Pat and I, although feeling a bit nervous to start, soon relaxed and answered the questions posed by Can about the whole Newman’s Farm scenario which suddenly seems to have become so popular and we both enjoyed it tremendously.
Just prior to the interview started a group of schoolchildren came into the studio and they seemed totally awestruck by what they were seeing. They were extremely well behaved and after looking at the studio they went on their way for the rest of their tour of BRT with waves and goodbyes.
Immediately, following the TV interview, Denise Phillips appeared to welcome us as our next session was on her Radio Angel programme so off we went to another recording studio to do a similar programme, this time with microphones and no cameras! Denise had asked if Pat would come up with some of her favourite music which would be played in between the interview and this had been supplied and Denise and Pat went through the order in which the songs would be played. Having never done a radio programme before, I found the whole process very interesting and it seemed to go very well with Pat and myself answering the questions put to us by Denise with little breaks for the chosen music to be inserted. It didn’t seem too long before we had finished and we could then devote some sightseeing time for Pat and Fred in Nicosia. Before leaving BRT we decided to have a bite to eat in the cafeteria to see us on our way to the old city of Nicosia and see some of the tourist attractions.
Our first port of call was to The Bedestan where we wanted to book tickets for a performance of the Whirling Dervishes, something Pat and Fred had said they would like to see. Having done this we then had some time to look around the area and made for the Bandabulya to give Fred a chance to see a typical Cypriot market. A visit to the Selimiye Mosque which is such a magnificent building and by this time we were ready to be escorted to the Dance Studio where the performance was to be held. Another couple and their small daughter who were visiting Cyprus from France joined us and we were greeted by Tanju Hastunç who gave a short talk about the Mevlana (Whirling Dervishes) and then the performance started. I was a little disappointed that there was only one dancer but it did not spoil the enjoyment of the tradition of the Whirling Dervish which always seems to mesmerize me and I am so pleased that we were able to take Pat and Fred to enjoy this experience.
It was an extremely hot day and we were somewhat pleased to be heading back to the car to cool down but on the way we stopped off to show Pat and Fred the Bűyűk Han and they spent a little time wandering around, with Fred’s camera working overtime, before we started our journey back to Kyrenia for a well-earned rest for all of us. However, on the way, as we needed some shopping we stopped at the Lemar Supermarket on the Famagusta Road which was a nice opportunity to show our visitors that North Cyprus does have a lot to offer, and they were very impressed with this very large supermarket and the choice of items available.
Pat and Fred were only here for a week and the time passed so quickly but I think they enjoyed everything we did together and I was so pleased to be able to meet them in person after having been in touch via email and Facebook for so long. I hope it will not be too long before they return to Cyprus and we can show them a lot more of the island. In the meantime, Pat and Fred will be able to reminisce with the TV and radio recordings made during their visit.
I started this article by referring to it as the finale, but with some additional information I have recently received and also another contact I am going to be put in touch with, I seem to think that the story is to be continued………….
To see more pictures of this visit by Pat Newman and her husband Fred and some of the things we did during their week in Cyprus, see the slideshow below.