Chinese people have been settling in Britain for over 200 years. The first settlers tended to come via trading links between Britain’s ports such as Liverpool with ports such as Shanghai. Outside of London the largest Chinese communities are in Manchester, Birmingham and Liverpool. With a rise in demand for Chinese cuisine from the late 1950s and the collapse of the agriculture sector in rural Hong Kong many more Chinese came to the UK.
The earliest reference to Chinese settlers in Sheffield can be found in the burial register for St Paul’s churchyard (now the Peace Gardens) for 1855. On 31 May 1855 A. Chow son of Too Ki (a magician) was buried. The vicar has written the word 'Chinese’ in the entry. Nothing else has been discovered about Too Ki.
The next reference isn’t until 1910 - a laundry proprietor named Yun Wong with a business on Abbeydale Road is listed in a trade directory for that year. However it wasn’t until the 1960s that many more Chinese came to settle in the city.
The 2001 census recorded 2,200 Chinese people in Sheffield, with an additional 1,000 students of Chinese origin. The highest concentrations of Chinese are found in Highfield, Sharrow, Broomhill and Broomhall. They have come from mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan as well as other parts of Britain.
For more information on sources relating to the Chinese community at Sheffield Archives & Local Studies Library, download the study guide.
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