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Why Liverpool Is Home To The Oldest Chinese Community In Europe & More Fascinating History

Updated: Jan 29, 2023

Liverpool Chinatown's Intriguing History And How It Sits At The Heart Of The Liverpool Bay Area

The Liverpool City Region has the oldest Chinese Community in Europe, with many of the Chinese Seamen that travelled to Liverpool in the early 1800s working for the various shipping companies that conducted business in the Bay often settled in what is now known as ‘Chinatown’ in the City Centre.

The neighbourhood began forming due to its close proximity to the Liverpool Docklands which was where many of them worked.

The intricate Chinese Arch, also known as The Imperial Arch, is nestled at the top of Nelson Street in the City Centre neighbourhood, Chinatown. The Arch towers 44ft tall (or 13.5m) and cost approximately £700,000 to complete.

It is the largest Chinese Arch of its kind in the world outside of Mainland China and was constructed by 16 expert artisans in one of Liverpool’s several twin cities, Shanghai.

The volume of the Chinese Seamen travelling to the Liverpool Bay Area needed a place to stay and a great deal of those Seamen would choose to rent a bed or settle down in Chinatown.

It is estimated that between 10,000 and 20,000 Chinese Seamen where working in Liverpool and hunderds had settled with locals to start a family, however, after The Second World War, many where forcefully repatriated to China after the British Government felt that they were 'disruptive’ and 'undesirable' for going on strike for better pay and working conditions due to them wanting the same pay and rights for the work completed that thier native British-born counterparts enjoyed, leaving many Liverpudlian children without a father.


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