Chinatown, Manchester

Manchester, United Kingdom

Chinatown, Manchester

Chinatown in Manchester, England, is an ethnic enclave in the city centre. It is the second largest Chinatown in the United Kingdom and the third largest in Europe. It has an archway on Faulkner Street, which was completed in 1987, and contains many Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Nepali, Malaysian, Singaporean, Thai and Vietnamese restaurants, shops, bakeries and supermarkets.

The first settlers to arrive in the city came in the early 20th century; according to the BBC, "Many arrived alone and were engaged in what was seen as the traditional trade of laundries." Manchester's first Chinese restaurant, Ping Hong, opened on Oxford Street in 1948, on the eve of a Chinese immigration wave that would commence during the 1950s. Manchester did not have a significant Chinese population, reaching only about 2,000. However, after World War II, there were severe labour shortages, and in response, the government passed the British Nationality Act 1948, which allowed easier access into the country. Additionally, Hong Kong's rapid urbanisation meant that many farmers and traditional residents' homes were being destroyed by the urban sprawl, so many decided to migrate. The area's beginnings are rooted in the restaurant business, as many Chinese restaurants surfaced soon after the immigration boom. By the 1970s other Chinese businesses began to emerge, such as medicine shops, Chinese supermarkets, as well as financial and legal services, all serving the employees of the expanding number of Chinese restaurants in the area. There was even a Hong Kong government office and a branch of The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation during the 1970s. In 1989 the Chinese Arts Centre opened in Chinatown. In 2013, the Bank of East Asia opened their first Manchester branch in Chinatown, on Charlotte Street. The branch officially opened on 25 October 2013, in a ceremony attended by the Lord Mayor of Manchester.

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