Pytheas (Πυθέας) is the first known Greek to come to Britain. Later, many Greeks arrived with the Roman legions as soldiers and traders.
Successive arrivals came to the island as sailors, merchants, missionaries, later as mercenaries (especially after the Fall of Constantinople to the Ottomans in 1453) and subsequently as students during Ottoman rule.
The first organised Greek Orthodox Community was established in London in the 1670s.
In the 19th century, Greeks settled mostly in the port cities of London, Liverpool, Glasgow and Cardiff. More than two hundred thousand (200,000) Greeks from Cyprus and mainland Greece are estimated to reside in Great Britain.
There are no official statistics on the number of Greeks and Greek Cypriots in Great Britain. It is generally recognised that the majority live in the Greater London region. According to a Corporation of London sponsored report (see "Reference"), there are between 28,600-31,000 Greek speakers in Greater London. The study also reports that out of a total 896,743 London schoolchildren, 0.71% come from a Greek-speaking home. There is currently no census of persons of Greek origin who use English as the home language.
List of notable Greeks in Great Britain
- Andrew Adonis, Baron Adonis, United Kingdom Parliamentary Under Secretary of State
- Peter Andre, (*1973), British-born musician
- Angela Bowie, (*1950), model, actress, musician
- Al Bowlly,(1899-1941), vocalist
- Colonel Callan, pseudonym of Kostas Georgiou, mercenary
- Jake and Dinos Chapman, (Jake b. 1966) (Dinos b. 1962) British artists
- Andrea Christofidou, British philosopher
- Caryl Churchill , writer (Greek grandmother)
- Antony Costa, (*1981), musician, Blue (boy band)
- George Coulouris, (1903-1989), actor
- Constantine II, (*1940), formerly Constantine II, King of the Hellenes
- Barry Evangeli, music producer for such artists as Gloria Gaynor
- Alec Issigonis, the engineer who designed the legendary Mini in the 50s
- Alex Kapranos, (*1972), Lead Singer of Franz Ferdinand
- Panos Karnezis, (*1967), author
- Sophia Kokosalaki, (*1972), fashion designer
- Alexis Korner, (1928-1984), the father of British rhythm and blues
- Kristian Leontiou, singer
- George Michael, (1963-2016), born Georgios Kyriakos Panayiotou, musician
- Peter Paphides, music journalist
- Theo Paphitis, entrepreneur
- Linda Papadopoulos, Canadian-born celebrity psychologist
- Janet Paraskeva, administrator who was appointed as the First Civil Service Commissioner
- Georgios Samaras, (*1985), soccer player (Manchester City, Celtic and West Bromwich Albion)
- Marina Sirtis, (*1960), actress, Counselor Deanna Troi in Star Trek: The Next Generation
- Cat Stevens, (*1948), born Stephen Demetre Georgiou, musician; new name: Yusuf Islam
- Tony Windsor, (1921-1985), radio producer – broadcaster
- Alex Zane, stand-up comedian, MTV UK presenter and XFM DJ.
- Philip Baker & John Eversley, Multilingual Capital, commissioned by Corporation of London, published by Battlebridge 2000.
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