A History of Algarve Expats – Part 6

Immigrants and Expats in Lagos from 1897 to 1972

Once again, we find ourselves on a journey to explore the lives of the immigrants and expats who have lived in Lagos between 1897 and 1972. The starting point for this article is once more the book Livro de Registo de Residência de Estrangeiros (1897–1972), held by the Arquivo Municipal de Lagos. This time we explore the lives of two expats, one with the occupation of agricultor (farmer) and the other of horticultor (horticulturist). 

Mark Jeremy Harman is the first and only expat registered with the occupation of agricultor (farmer). The first record is dated 22 January, 1971 (p. 44). At the time, Mark Harman was 25 years old, from Taunton (England) and was single. His parents are also identified: Lance Harman and Audrey Moger. His Portuguese location was in Portelas (p. 44).

We were hoping, at this point, to be able to locate Mark Harman and write the first article using records from the Livro de Registo de Residência de Estrangeiros where the person and the record could actually be introduced to each other. Unfortunately, Mark passed away in 2021, in Lagos. We found this out from Joaquim Rio, Mark’s commercial partner of 20 years, now the owner of Pescamar sport fishing at the Lagos marina. Joaquim Rio told us that Mark Harman was born in 1945 and was married, first to a Portuguese woman named Luísa Calazans, and then to Jinny Harman. He had two children: Sara, from the first marriage, and Rupert, from the second.

Joaquim Rio remembers Mark as an intelligent and good man who was always smiling and in a good mood. He was rarely seen without a camera in his hands or his dog Tommy accompanying him. Most weekends he enjoyed picnics and barbecues with good food, gin and beer and, of course, friends. Rio also remembers how he learned to windsurf at Bravura Lake (Odiáxere) with Mark.

Joaquim and Mark met in 1972 at the Luz Bay Club. Joaquim was, at the time, working as a barman and Harman invited him to become his business partner. He accepted and the two established the Harman & Rio, Lda – O Talho Inglês (the English butcher). They not only became partners in business but also friends.

Morris truck. The first truck of the company Harman & Rio – Rua dos Combatentes da Grande Guerra, 1973 (photo made available by Joaquim Rio)

Before coming to Lagos, Mark undertook professional agricultural training in Australia and worked on his stepfather’s farm. His stepfather was Ben Moger, an Englishman who came to Lagos from South Africa where he was working as a solicitor. It was at Quinta da Matina in Portelas that Mark began to implement new techniques in factory farming.

Mark and Joaquim started to produce and sell English sausages to restaurants and supermarkets. The meat came from the pigs raised at Quinta da Matina. The difference between the English sausages and the Portuguese ones was all down to the production. 

The English contained more spices compared to the Portuguese ones and one sausage in particular was famous with the cocktails – the chipolata.  

Mark Harman preparing the sausages with the blue and white apron he usually used
for this work (photo made available by Sara Calazans Harman).

The two also started to produce hamburgers, which were a completely new phenomenon in Portugal. “Nobody knew what a hamburger was,” says Joaquim. In 1975, they ordered a Hollymatic machine from America, after which their hamburgers were sold to Igloo – the very well-known frozen food brand that still exists today. Mark and Joaquim were in fact, the first hamburger producers in Portugal.

The partners sold sausages and hamburgers from Lagos to Vale do Lobo, all made in Lagos, at Rua dos Combatentes da Grande Guerra. They were commercial competitors of Douglas William Borley. Joaquim told us that Borley could be found having a drink in Lagos from a metal mug that he brought with him. The mug apparently saved his life in South Africa, deflecting a bullet while he was having a drink. Afterwards, he believed it was his protective amulet (for more about Borley read the article ‘Immigrants and Expats in Lagos from 1897 to 1972 – Part 5’).

Mark Harman and Joaquim Rio were partners from 1973 until the 90s. Their partnership eventually came to an end, primarily because they were unable to compete with competition from the large supermarkets.

While we were writing the testimony of Joaquim Rio, we were hoping that he could have some contacts of Mark Harman’s family in order to gather more testimonies and information and we succeeded. Joaquim gave us the contact of Mark’s son, Rupert Harman, who gave us the contact of his sister, Sara Calazans Harman.

Rupert Harman remembers his father had been coming to Lagos since 1967 to visit his parents. Between 1972 and 1975, he returned to England to train to be a butcher at the Royal Agricultural College, in Cirencester. This information complements what Joaquim Rio told us about the start of the business of Harman & Rio, Lda. About his time in Australia, Rupert remembers his father came back to Lagos with a friend … by car. What an adventure this trip must have been!

Rupert remembers spending a lot of time with his father outside in the garden, watering and taking care of his plants. He remembers sitting on a tractor aged 8. Mark Harman was always busy and was a nature lover. He loved to see the almond trees blossom and to be outdoors. His first topic of conversation was always the weather. He was also very optimistic and positive, even when he became sick. He was often heard to say, “The next year will be a great year!”

Rupert also remembers that every Saturday in the 80s, a group gathered in the Restaurante Pôr do Sol, in Meia Praia. Members of the group knew each other well and recalls there were always children playing. “The lifestyle in the 70s and 80s must have been amazing. For an English middle -class family to live in Lagos back then was to live a little bit as a rich person,” he says. The difference between the escudo and the pound was high but salaries also differed dramatically.

When Portugal joined the European Union, there were different regulations about industry and those changes affected Mark Harman’s business activities and made it more difficult. Even so, the Talho Inglês continued to trade until 2012.

Mark moved to São Brás de Alportel in 1999, where he lived for 15 years. “He loved to hike,” says Rupert. Mark Harman was a member of Algarve Wednesday Walkers (AWWs) and the Via Algarviana Walkers Group (other members were: Ian Angus, Maurice Clyde, Ian Cooper, Rod Frew, Tony Webster and Myriam Lo).

We also spoke to his daughter, Sara Calazans Harman. Her parents’ separation and the fact she lived in Lisbon for many years meant she had had less contact with her father until his later years. Sara remembers her father as a good and generous man with a big heart. “His life was guided by fun and pleasure and he was a charismatic man, reuniting many people around him. He never complained, even when he became sick,” Sara says.

When we submitted this article to Sandra Oliveira (city ​​councilor at Lagos Municipality), we had a surprising feedback from her: “I remember going to the ‘The English Butcher’ and I remembered a man behind the counter, with a big smile in a red apron, sharpening the knives with a funny Portuguese-English accent. I went there many times to buy some meat for my stepfather. You could smell the meat from the door and I didn’t like it, but then there was this man behind the counter with this big smile, always kind and in a good mood. At that time, that place was very successful. This brings back my childhood memories.” 

Mark Harman fulfilled this article with the joy he had in his life. For sure he loved Lagos and the Algarve. We hope that these words reach some of his dearest friends and family.

The next record we found was dated 28 January of 1971 (p.44). This was an expat named Antonius Johannes Goemans with the occupation of horticultor (horticulturalist). He is the only Dutch expat recorded as living in Lagos (1897–1972). Antonius was 47 years old, from Hilegon (Netherlands) and married. His location is listed as Praia da Luz. The record of his wife is immediately listed below: Barbara Ann Goemans, 41 years old, housekeeper, from Boston and now living in Praia da Luz. Unfortunately, we were unable to discover any more information about the couple.

Record of Antonius Johannes Goemans and Barbara Ann Goemans. Details from Livro de Registo de residência de estrangeiros (1897–1972), (p. 44)

The book Livro de registo de bilhetes de residência de estrangeiros still has some more stories that deserve to be discovered. Join us on this voyage through time.

Part 7 – to continue

Main image: Mark Harman with his daughter Sara and his son Rupert (photo made available by Sara Calazans Harman)

List of references:

  • Arquivo Municipal de Lagos (AMLGS) – Fundo da Administração do Concelho – Livro de registo de bilhetes de residência de estrangeiros (1897–1972), (AMLGS – E122/P6/301/1).
  • Roderick Frew – Via Algarviana route is 20-years-old this month.’ Algarve Daily News, 2018.
  • Testimony of Joaquim Rio (10 January 2023) at Lagos City Council.
  • Testimony of Rupert Harman (6 February 2023) at Lagos City Council.
  • Testimony of Sara Calazans Harman (8 March 2023) video call.
  • Testimony of Sandra Oliveira (City ​​Councilor at Lagos Municipality), (10 April 2023)


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