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24 September 2014

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History of Manchester's Chinatown
updated 14/01/04
Alt tag It's always a pleasure to wander through the streets of Manchester's Chinatown. But how long has it been there?

We take a potted look at its history.

The first Chinese settlers arrived in Manchester in the early days of the 20th century - choosing Manchester as an alternative location to Liverpool where another community was already beginning to settle and grow.

Shops in Chinatown
Shops in Chinatown

Many arrived alone and were engaged in what is seen as a the traditional trade of laundries.

But it wasn't until the 1940s that larger numbers arrived and in 1948 the first Chinese restaurant, the Ping Hong on Mosley Street, opened. Over the following decade or so another 16 restaurants opened.

By the 1950's the growth of home washing and chain laundries forced the to look at alternative employment and many moved into takeaways and restaurants.

Some of the more famous restaurants in what was now developing as a Chinese quarter of the city, arrived in the 1970s and included Charlie Chans (1973), the Woo Sang (1976) and The Little Yang Sing (1978).

Today Chinatown is centred around the impressive Ming Dynasty Imperial Arch which was dedicated in 1987 with many shops and restaurants sited around Nicholas Street, Faulkner Street and George Street.

It's difficult to put an exact number on the size of the Chinese community in Greater Manchester.

In the 1991 UK census the population was put at just over 21,000 - more recent estimates suggest a figure around 30,000, but a great part of this is made up by Chinese overseas students who are studying in Manchester.

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