Chinese Life in Sheffield

Gemma Thorpe

Chinese Life in Sheffield

Sheffield has become home to many Chinese people over the years – the first record of a Chinese name in the city archives is from as far back as 1855. In recent years there has been an influx of students from mainland China to Sheffield -I had worked on a project about this previously and with this new work was keen to learn about the more established Chinese community in the city.

I met some of Sheffield’s older Chinese residents, who arrived from Hong Kong in the 1960s and 70s and established takeaways and restaurants across the city; some of these former business owners feature in the portraits here. I spent time at the Chinese Community Centre on London Road, Sheffield Chinese School (held every Sunday at King Edward VII School), Wanlin Dance School, Sheffield Live Radio during transmission of the Mandarin language programme, backstage at the City Hall during the annual Chinese New Year Gala, and with Qian Li, who has established the first Chinese hairdressers in the city.

My thanks go to Kam Yau Cheng, Judy Nairn, May Lee, Sai Lee, Kwai Yung Chan, Sui Chun Leung, Roy Yau, Kam Wan and Qian Li for sharing their stories.

This work formed part of ‘The City as Bricolage’ project: an Arts Council England-funded project supported by Sheffield Archives and Local Studies Library.