Books

Merchants in Exile: The Armenians of Manchester, England, 1835–1935

Merchants in Exile: The Armenians of Manchester, England, 1835–1935

London: Gomidas Institute, 2002,
xv + 279 pp., maps, illustrations,
ISBN 1-903656-08-7, paperback,
UK£16.00 / US$24.00
To order please contact books@gomidas.org





Joan George was always curious about her Armenian ancestry. Her mother, born into Manchester's Armenian community, became assimilated when she married an Englishman. Despite having an English father, an English upbringing, and an English education, Joan's interest in her Armenian origins remained.

After over half a century in the south of England pursuing varied interests expressed in freelance writing. she decided to research the sociopolitical and family backgrounds of the Manchester Armenians—the merchants in exile. This book is the result.

She drew heavily on the oral and other testimonies of older members of the community. Moreover, she consulted sources in the British Library, the Public Record Office, the New Bodleian Library (Oxford), and Manchester's Central Library. The amount of relevant, hitherto unpublished material on Armenians was astonishing. Great publicity was given, in both houses of Parliament, the press, and public meetings, to the messacres and other atrocities perpetrated against Armenians during the reign of the paranoid Turkish sultan Abdulhamid II. The Manchester merchants' links with Turkey added yet another dimension to the events. [2002]

The prosperous Manchester Armenians consistently raised funds for their beleaguered compatriots. In 1920 they chartered three ships, filling them with clothing, medical supplies, and other necessities for the short-lived Republic of Armenia.

Politically to the left of centre, Joan George exposes the European powers' imperial interests in the declining Ottoman Empire as yet another factor in the Armenian tragedy.

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