Chinatown, London

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Chinatown is highly decorated for special occasions, here for Chinese New Year 2004.

London's Chinatown is in the Soho area of the City of Westminster, occupying the area in and around Gerrard Street. It contains a number of Chinese restaurants, supermarkets, souvenir shops, and other Chinese-run businesses.


[edit] History

The first area in London known as Chinatown was located in the Limehouse area of London. At the start of the 20th century, the Chinese population of London was concentrated in that area, setting up businesses which catered to the Chinese sailors who frequented in Docklands. The area began to become well known for its (legal) opium dens and slum housing, rather than the Chinese restaurants and supermarkets in the current Chinatown. However, the area was redeveloped in 1934 and much of the old housing was demolished, although a number of elderly Chinese still choose to live in this area.

After the Second World War, however, the growing popularity of Chinese cuisine and an influx of immigrants from Hong Kong led to an increasing number of Chinese restaurants being opened elsewhere.

The present Chinatown, off Shaftesbury Avenue in London, did not start to be established until the 1970s. Up until then, it was a regular Soho area, run-down, with Gerrard Street the main thoroughfare. It was dominated by the Post Office, facing Macclesfield Street, and other major establishments were The Tailor & Cutter House, at 43/44, now a Chinese supermarket and restaurant, the Boulougne Restaurant, near the Wardour Street end, and by Peter Mario's Restaurant at the other end. Other businesses included a master baker's, the Sari Centre, Lesgrain French Coffee House, an Indian restaurant and lots of doorways offering French Lessons and such like. Probably the first Chinese restaurants opened in Lisle Street, parallel to Gerrard St, and then spread gradually. The Tailor & Cutter did not close down until around 1974.

In 2005, the property developer Rosewheel has proposed a plan to redevelop the eastern part of Chinatown. The plan is opposed by many of the existing retailers in Chinatown, on the basis that they believe that the redevelopment will drive out the traditional Chinese retail stores from the area and change the ethnic characteristic of Chinatown.

[edit] Residents

London's Chinatown is a commercial area; very few people actually live there.

There are many illegal workers in London's Chinatown earning less than minimum wage[citation needed]. Also, it is known that the Triads are operating there, highlighted by a shooting in broad daylight in June 2003 in the "brb bar" on Gerrard Street. Naturally, these do not happen very often and Chinatown is a relatively safe area of London.

[edit] See also

[edit] External links

da:Chinatown (London) no:Chinatown (London) sk:Chinatown (Londýn) sv:Chinatown, London zh:伦敦唐人街

Chinatown, London

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