China Town - Liverpool
Liverpool has one of the oldest established Chinese
communities in Europe. There was a line of steamers
with a direct connection from Liverpool to China,
whose main trading goods were, tea, silk and cotton
wool. Indeed it is probably this factor that Liverpool’s
permanent Chinese community dates to around 1870
with the establishment in 1868 of a direct shipping
service between Britain and China.
By 1880 Liverpool was granted city status by
a Royal Charter. At this time Chinese sailors
were to be seen regularly around the docks of
Liverpool, London and Cardiff.
The Chinese settled around the dock area, most
notably on Cleveland Square, Pitt Street and Frederick
Street. But this changed when most of the area
was destroyed during World war II. This prompted
the Chinese community to move out into the suburbs,
with a few moving to Nelson Street and George
Square, where the shipping company Holts had established
a new seaman’s hostel to replace the boarding
houses lost in Pitt Street and Cleveland Square.
From here Chinatown grew organically to take in
much of Berry Street, Duke Street and Upper Parliament
Today, Chinatown is still centred on Nelson Street
and Berry Street. It has to be said, Chinatown
has seen better times, but then, so has Liverpool.
The size of the Chinese community has shrunk with
many moving to more economically active areas
such as Manchester and Birmingham. Nonetheless,
there are hopes of a brighter future. In January
2000 the new Imperial Arch was opened, generating
a new phase in Chinatown’s development.
Liverpool diverse cultural base is only appreciated
after a trip around Chinatown which illustrates
the way in which this community has integrated
within the city. A variety of excellent cuisine
is on offer and the small shops are of interest
to locals and tourists visiting this part of the
The Chinese New Year is Celebrated in style and
features street entertainers, music and dance.
The celebrations include a number of parades in
which locals are dressed in Chinese mythical costumes
of Lions and dragons. The street parades are well
attended and the atmosphere is magnificent. Chinese
houses and restaurants in the Chinese Quarter
are cleaned and decorated with flowers for the
That's why Liverpools China Town is wonderful
besides being full of interesting features such
as Asian style lampposts, litter boxes, parking
ticket machines and street signs.
The downside is that the community area is relatively
small and much of the area is undergoing regeneration.