The first Chinese immigrants arrived in Manchester in the early 20th century. The 1911 census shows seven Chinese households. All were born in China and ran laundries.

The biggest wave of Chinese immigration came in the 1950s and 1960s. Large numbers of refugees arrived in Hong Kong, due to unstable politics in the region. This combined with post-war unemployment led many Hakka-speaking Chinese to make their way to Britain.

From the 1970s, a new wave of Chinese immigrants came to Greater Manchester to join family and friends who had already settled in the city. Their help was needed in the expanding catering trade. The introduction of long-haul flights at Manchester airport in 1981 and the opening of the Chinese Consulate in 1986 added to Manchester’s appeal.

The vibrant Chinese community continues to attract immigrants to the city. Many new settlers arrived in 1997 and in 1999 when control of Hong Kong and then Macau was handed back to the Chinese authorities. Most recently, Mandarin-speaking Chinese from mainland China have arrived in the city seeking work and study opportunities.

Visit Archives+ to learn more about Chinatown, Chinese culture and the Chinese business community in Manchester.

 

Ann Law, Manchester Chinese Opera Group, 2010
Chinese Arch, Faulkner Street, 1987

Supplementary schools where British-born Chinese children learned English and Chinese languages were often based in Chinese restaurants - hence their nickname 'Chop Suey Schools'. This is a page from a child's homework book from the 1980s.

Manchester's Chinese Community (1965): Views of Manchester's Chinatown and celebrations in Albert Square taken from a student documentary looking at the teaching of Cantonese to children from Manchester's Chinese community.