Britain’s Chinese workforce and its contribution to the UK is too often underestimated, according to the curators of a new project charting the community’s successes.
In a series of interviews with top Chinese professionals, entrepreneurs and politicians, researchers have also managed to trace the first Chinese arrival to the UK, to a royal courtier in 1610.
The project includes the first-ever Chinese arrival to take up UK citizenship and the first Chinese footballer (and first non-white) to play on a British team.
On a busy weekday, London’s Chinatown is hard at work- a tradition inherited from earlier generations.
Trading in tea, laundry houses and restaurants, the Chinese first set up in London’s docklands – where the city’s original Chinatown once stood.
Early images of Chinese settlers in the UK have been gathered as part of a publicly funded project charting the achievements of Chinese arrivals in Britain as early as the 1800s.
“Most of the sailors came accidentally to this country because of the war, because they couldn’t go back to China at the time…and that’s why they settled down in Liverpool and Limehouse, and got married to British women here,” said Chung Wen Li from the Ming Ai Institute.