Black and white photo of extended family standing outside home in Hanway Street, Fitzrovia, London. Photograph taken in the late-1960s.
Outside the flat in Hanway Street with her extended family in the late 1960s . Maria, second from left hugging her nephew’s wife; her son Anastastios, front centre; husband Menicos behind son; and Kyriakos behind his father. Photo: courtesy of Kyriakos Mastris. 

My mother Maria Mastris, who died in February last year aged 100, was born and grew up in the town of Lefkonico, Cyprus. Her parents were Anastasis and Markarou Bavlangou who ran a farm growing grains and fruit. She had two brothers and three sisters. When she left school she trained as a dressmaker.

In 1946 she married Menicos Mastris who was also from Lefkonico and they travelled to London. Menicos had previously arrived in London in 1935 and worked in the catering trade. Together they rented a flat in Hanway Street in 1947, where she was to live for the next 72 years.

She was the only member of her family to emigrate from Cyprus, and she continued to work as a dressmaker at a garment shop opposite where she lived in Hanway Street, known as the Hanway Works, until she retired.

In 1947 she gave birth to her first son Kyriakos and in 1951 to Anastastios.

The Blue Posts pub, which used to be on the corner of Hanway Street and Tottenham Court Road, was where the family went for a drink on a Sunday. The pub is no longer there, just like much of the neighbourhood she would have known in post-war London. 

Her flat was always full of relatives and fellow Cypriots who came to see her, often stopping off after a shopping trip to Oxford Street. The family and friends were regular attendees at the Greek Orthodox Church of All Saints in Camden Town.

She led a busy and hard life but she and her husband were happy and content. Menicos died in 1994 and is buried in Larnaca.

She died a week after her 100th birthday, and was taken to Cyprus for the funeral to be buried next to her husband.

She is survived by her two sons, Anastasios and me, five grandchildren, and many relatives and friends.

Maria Mastris (nee Bavlangou), born 15 February 1920, Lefkonico, Cyprus; died 22 February 2020, London.

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