Lauderdale House art teacher: ‘I had never experienced Hallowe’en before moving to Highgate’

Aynur Erdal qualified as an artist in Istanbul and in Kensington and Chelsea College. She lives in Hornsey Lane in Highgate and works at Lauderdale House in the education and events departments, teaching children art, running family workshops, curating the annual Photo and Pride Art Competitions and managing weddings and parties.

What brought you to Highgate?

I was living in east London, and liked the greenery of north London. Walking on Hampstead Heath felt like being in the country. The villagey atmosphere with small shops and the community feeling is really appealing too.

What’s the best memory of the area?

My first day at Lauderdale House really blew me away. Not only because Lauderdale has become such a home to me but also because it was my first Hallowe’en. We don’t have Hallowe’en in Turkey and I had never experienced anything like the Spooky Walks.

If you were editor of the Ham&High for a day, what local issue would you champion?

Making sure that the important resources that are so valuable to the community are protected, like local independent shops, the hospital and the park, and encourage independent restaurants rather than the usual chains.

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How would you spend your perfect Sunday in Highgate?

Bringing my friends to Lauderdale House to visit the current exhibition and having a nice cup of coffee in the café. I sometimes pop into Highgate Contemporary Art to see the latest artwork too. I might also go for a walk in Waterlow Park or on Hampstead Heath and finally have a drink with friends at The Prince of Wales or the Angel Inn before going to a show at Upstairs at the Gatehouse.

Where in the world would you twin with Highgate?

Highgate has a rich heritage just as my home city, Istanbul, has. So in order for the people of Highgate and Istanbul to understand each other better I would twin Highgate with Sariyer, which is a beautiful part of the city and near the Bosphorous, with an interesting history.

Who is the most inspiring person you have ever met?

My professor at the art college in Istanbul fostered my love of art and set me on my way. At Lauderdale House I have been inspired by many up-and-coming and also established artists, and it has been a pleasure to give them as good an experience as possible when they hold exhibitions in the house.