Footprints 足跡

This project started and ended in one bitterly cold winter, we also arranged an 8-day field trip during December 2009 to visit different places to collect local information and to take photos for the photo gallery, these visits were vital to the project as we created history when tracing the history.

Bristol (12 Dec 2009)

Bristol played an extremely important role in sea trade for hundreds of years. By 1914, there were reported to be five Chinese families living in Bristol. In that year, Hong Pang (c.1890-1958) arrived in Bristol. He was a ship’s laundry worker from Canton (Guangzhou). Hong Pang settled in the Horfield district of the city and established a laundry business that lasted for several generations.

Cardiff (13 Dec 2009)

During the Transport Workers’ Strike of July 1911 in Cardiff, every one of the city's thirty-three Chinese laundries was attacked against a background of hostility towards the Chinese community. 

Birmingham (14 Dec 2009)

Birmingham is about as far away from the sea as you can get in Britain. This helps explain why Chinese settlement there is relatively recent compared to coastal cities like London, Liverpool and Cardiff. In those places, Chinese seafarers on ships brought goods from Asia and populated the historic Chinatowns of the 19th and early 20th centuries. Birmingham's Chinese population is the result of a largely post-war migration. Prior to 1945, there were only a few dozen Chinese people in the city. Birmingham’s Chinese Quarter was officially recognized in the 1980s. The city is home to the headquarters of the Chinese supermarket chain W. Wing Yip Plc. 

Manchester (15 Dec 2009)

The first Chinese immigrants arrived in Manchester in the early 20th century, but the biggest wave of Chinese immigration came in the 1950s. They were Hakkanese from the New Territories of Hong Kong as the government had decided to build on their land to cater for the growing population. This left the people of low factory wages, so immigration became their best option. The first Chinese restaurant opened in 1948 named ‘Ping Hong’. In 1987, the completion of Manchester's Chinatown archway was the largest in Europe at that time. Manchester's Chinatown on Faulkner Street is the second largest in Britain after London's Soho Chinatown. Wai Yin Chinese Women Society is the largest Chinese community organisation in the UK. 

Liverpool (16 Dec 2009)

The first presence of Chinese people in Liverpool dated back to the early 19th century, but the main influx arrival at the end of the 19th century. In 1942, a strike was held by Chinese sailors in Liverpool for equal pay to that of local seamen. The strike lasted for four months. The strike was ultimately unsuccessful, resulting in the Chinese being forbidden shore jobs and being offered one-way voyages back to China. The Chinese archway erected in Liverpool in 2000 superseded Manchester’s as the largest in Europe. In 2006, a memorial plaque in remembrance of the Chinese sailors expelled from Britain in the late 1940s was erected on Liverpool's Pier Head. 

Morecambe Bay (17 Dec 2009)

Morecambe Bay is a large bay in northwest England. It is the largest expanse of intertidal mudflats and sand in the UK, covering a total area of 310 km². The Morecambe Bay cockling disaster occurred on the evening of 5 February 2004 when 23 Chinese cockle pickers were drowned by the incoming tide off the coast. A total of 21 bodies, of men and women between the ages of 18 and 45, were recovered from the bay after the incident. 15 cockle pickers survived. 

Glasgow (18 Dec 2009)

The Chinese community in Scotland, originating from both mainland China and Hong Kong, numbered just over 10,000, with the most significant population in Glasgow. Glasgow's Chinatown in Cowcaddens features a traditional Chinese pagoda entrance using materials imported from the Orient. The first Chinese restaurant in Glasgow was the Wah Yen in Govan Road, opened by Jimmy Yih in the late 1940s. In 1953, there were only three Chinese families living in Glasgow, and it is believed that about 3,000 Chinese people were resident there in 1994. 

Newcastle (19 Dec 2009)

In 1949, the first Chinese restaurant opened in Newcastle upon Tyne. In 1988, Chinese businesses in Stowell Street – Newcastle Chinatown – were allowed to display signs in Chinese as well as English. Nowadays the Chinatown incorporates the area from Stowell Street to Westgate Road. According to the BBC, Newcastle Chinatown is also undergoing regeneration. A gateway costing £160,000 was constructed by Mainland Chinese in 2005. 

Sheffield(20 Dec 2009)

Sheffield has no official Chinatown although London Road, Highfield is the centre of the Sheffield Chinese community. There are many Chinese restaurants, supermarkets and community stores; the home of the Sheffield Chinese Community Centre is also there. The Sheffield Chinese community is pressing for the street to be formally labelled Sheffield's Chinatown. The Chinese community in Sheffield is also spreading toward the city centre, with a notable number of Chinese people, greatly influenced by the city's university that has the largest number of Chinese students in the country. 

Limehouse (17 & 30 Jan 2010)

Limehouse is a place in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets. In the 1880s, immigrant Chinese began to settle in Limehouse, in particular, Pennyfields and Limehouse Causeway. The Chinese had restaurants, grocery stores and laundry houses where lime was used specifically to bleach clothes. By 1890, there were two small Chinese communities there; Chinese people from Shanghai settled around Pennyfields, Amoy Place and Ming Street (in Poplar) and those from Canton and South China lived in the Limehouse area. There were no Chinese women in the early days, and wives were British. During 1939-1950, the Chinese community in East London was first badly affected by the Blitz and then the post-war slump in maritime trade. The East London Cemetery contains a large Chinese burial area. 

Soho London (7 & 21 Feb 2010)

The name Chinatown has been used at different times to describe different places in London. The present Chinatown is in the Soho area of the City of Westminster, occupying the area in and around Gerrard Street. It contains a number of Chinese restaurants, bakeries, supermarkets, souvenir shops, traditional Chinese medicine shops and other Chinese-run businesses.

For more footprints, please visit the website.