The Enfield segment of our Heritage Project started in November 2021 and will continue to run until June 2023. Our new Heritage Lead is based at the Lancaster Centre at our Enfield office every Wednesday.
Our project aims to capture the stories of Turkish Cypriot immigrants who migrated to the U.K in the 1950s and 1960s. We would like to share our collective understanding of their journey and the history of their migration. It’s important to create a platform for our elders to discuss their experiences of migration, their realized dreams and their heritage by embracing and recognizing their past experiences. We will do this through utilising sound bites, interviews, a dedicated website, a theatre production, and an exhibition. We are creating a variety of mediums and platforms for these stories to be told and make them available for future generations.
Turkish Cypriots who migrated to the UK are key to this country and have enriched our society, as those who recall the struggles, successes, and journey become far fewer, this is the time that we need to embrace and ensure that all these stories are protected.
We want them to be told, to be heard and to be seen.
The project will be shared with the younger generations, and we are keen they are involved in the learning and the delivery. Materials collected through the project with those safeguarded by others on Turkish Cypriot Heritage will be available at our exhibition:
Journeys from the North of Cyprus: Supporting the cultural heritage of Turkish Cypriots
From Monday 4 April 2022 until the Summer of 2022 at the Culture Palace 29 Palace Gardens Shopping Centre, Enfield EN2 6SN dugdalecentre.co.uk/culture-palace. This remained in place and was positively received.
We hope to have an exhibition at the Dugdale Centre representing the reopening of the center which occurred in December 2022 it will end in December 2023. We will share our materials with local based museums such as Bruce Castle, and Forty Hall, we will share this information with the Imperial War Museum, National Archive, British Library, and English Heritage.
For more information on the project, contact Natika Handan, Heritage Lead based at TCCA, Lancaster Centre, 53 Lancaster Rd, Enfield EN2 0BU every Wednesday or email Natika Handan on email@example.com
Heritage Theatre Piece
As part of our Heritage Project, in partnership with YETENEKLI KIBRISLILAR (Talented Cypriots) have delivered a theatre production over a series of three days on the 1st, 2nd and 3rd July 2022 taking place at the Culture Palace in Enfield. The production is open to everyone, and you can book your free place here: dugdalecentre.co.uk/events/journeys-from-cyrpus
Its focus will be the migration of Turkish Cypriots to the UK during the 1950s and 1960s and the production will be on stories inspired by all aspects that make up Turkish Cypriot culture, from its music, words, food, and heritage.
Music through our culture
In February 2023, a new aspect was added to our project. At the Dugdale Centre, Enfield.
We were able to perform a newly written piece jointly with YETENEKLI KIBRISLILAR, the work told the story of two people who fall in love, we added traditional folk tunes to the piece and were, therefore, able to give the song meaning through the use of theatre.
Further productions will be arranged in June-July 2023.
History of Turkish Cypriot Migration
Before the First World War, very few Cypriots migrated to the UK and the British Cypriot population at this time was around 150, these were mainly involved in the arts, politicians, and merchants with a business interest in the UK. By 1931 the census figures showed that this had risen to over 1000, these figures continued to rise at a steady level until the 1950s which saw substantive rise in those in the Cypriot community making the UK its home (around 4000 Cypriots migrating to the UK a year) .The main reason for this rise was due to; violence on the island and the fear felt by both Greek and Turkish Cypriots, economic migration, to support the re-building of UK post world war 2 (similar to those who migrated from the Caribbean, Asian states and African colonies).
The increase in post-war rents in central London had forced many Cypriot immigrants to move north within the city. The Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities tended to be geographically segregated, with Greeks settling mainly in Camden and Turks in Stoke Newington. This was due to the migrants' reliance on social networks to find housing on their arrival. Robert Winder reported that "Haringey became the second biggest Cypriot town in the world”. Many Cypriots set up restaurants, filling a gap left by Italians, many of whom had been interned during the Second World War. Apart from catering, clothes making was also popular amongst the Cypriot population.
Following the 1974 conflict in Cyprus the Cypriot population became more segregated and saw the development of community network, community centres, media outlets, and shops that supported each community. Over time and with the incorporation of other Turkish Speaking people to north London, Turkish became the second most spoken Language in Haringey, Enfield, Hackney and Islington. Today according to Council of Turkish Cypriot Associations (KOMSEY), an estimated an estimated 250.000 Turkish Cypriot diaspora live in the UK, the highest population concentration being within the London Borough of Enfield. Many members of this community have now taken over Turkish Cypriot Heritage Project.