I bet you didn’t know just how close China and Liverpool are.

Ok, so there’s 5726 air miles between the two destinations, but our metaphorical fingers remain entwined and there’s definitely a lot of China in Liverpool and Liverpool in China!

Liverpool is home to the oldest Chinese community in Europe, an important part of city life since the first Chinese immigrants arrived at the port in 1834.

The late 19th century, is where the historical links begin. A large number of immigrants worked for shipping company, Alfred Holt and Company - the first commercial shipping line established to focus on Chinese trade, importing tea, cotton and silk from Shanghai.

This was the landing point for many of the first Chinese travellers, who went on to establish new communities across the UK.

The seamen lived in purpose built dwellings close to the Liverpool docks, so that the workers could live with others who spoke their language. Some workers decided to settle around the areas of Cleveland Square, Pitt Street and Frederick Street - now known as Chinatown. From 1890s onwards, Chinese people began opening shops, cafes and boarding houses.

You can explore more of Liverpool’s links with China and other countries at the Museum of Liverpool’s ‘A Global City’ section.

Chinatown Liverpool sits between the Anglican Cathedral and the dockland. There are 12 streets that make up Chinatown, from the Baltic Triangle area, up towards the Ropewalks. Here’s a few things you may, or may not know about China and Liverpool. Liverpool has been twinned with Shanghai since 1999, a friendship formed to build on the existing links formed through historic trade links.

Now, we think that the Liverpool skyline is a thing of beauty thanks to the Three Graces, the Albert Dock and all the historic buildings that line the front - but it’s also thanks to the beautiful and innovative buildings nestled amongst them that make this view so unique.

Compare this to the skyline of Shanghai and you’d be forgiven for getting the two confused.

The Bund, in Shanghai is a stretch waterfront lined with buildings. The most notable similarity though is a particular building called Custom House - and it’s an absolute dead ringer for the Royal Liver Building - take a look.

Next door to Custom House, similar to the Three Graces is the Waldorf Astoria Hotel - that looks a LOT like the third grace in Liverpool, the Port of Liverpool building.

The Royal Liver Building and the Port of Liverpool Building

The Custom House in Shanghai and the Waldorf Astoria

Visitors to Chinatown in Liverpool are welcomed by what is the largest Chinese Arch outside of China - the Imperial Arch.

Liverpool China Town Imperial Arch

It’s pretty big at 13.5 metres and 44ft tall. The imperial arch was actually gifted to Liverpool, from twin city Shanghai. Shipped over, piece by piece.

It was crafted by 20 specially selected craftsmen from Shanghai and arrived in 1999. The arch was assembled and unveiled in time for Liverpool’s annual Chinese New Year celebrations around Nelson Street.

Every year, Liverpool celebrates Chinese New Year in Chinatown

Chinese New Year Liverpool

In 2018 Liverpool will celebrate the year of the Dog and the celebrations will be bigger than ever. These celebrations will be the start of a 9 month festival of the best Chinese contemporary art and culture as part of ‘China Dream.’

The celebrations will run along Berry Street, with an awe-inspiring projection on the aforementioned Chinese Arch and surrounding buildings accompanied by music from popular Chinese artists. For more on China Dream, head this way.

In 2004 a partnership with Xi’an Jiaotong University to create Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University was agreed

This image is taken from Shanghai in 2018

The campus on the coast of China opened in May 2006. The University of Liverpool was established in 1881 and now has the largest Chinese campus of any UK university.

The first intake at Xi'an Jiaotong University was of 164 students in 2006, then boasting 2200 students by 2012.

Now the university is expanding its campus, building a new South Campus.

Seeing China in Liverpool in 2018

In 2018, Liverpool will celebrate its cultural ties with China with a season of events. These events will be dedicated to chinese modern and traditional culture. 

The Warriors are here

Young boy points at Terracotta Warriors

Chinese New Year celebrations will coincide with the arrival of the Terracotta Army at Liverpool’s World Museum. The Terracotta Army is a collection of sculptures made from Terracotta, representing the armies of Qin Shi Huang, the first Emperor of China. For over 2,000 years the underground army of life-sized warriors guarded the tomb of the Qin Shi Huang until being discovered in 1974. The not-to-be-missed exhibition will include a number of objects, that have never been on display in the UK until now.

David Fleming, director of National Museums Liverpool who operate the World Museum said: "This is a tremendous coup, not just for Liverpool, but for the whole of the UK. As home to one of the oldest Chinese communities in Europe, Liverpool is absolutely the right place for this exhibition, and we are hugely excited to be working with our museum colleagues in China to bring a collection of Warriors and many other significant historical discoveries to the UK."

Presence at St George's Hall 

© Lu Xinjian, City DNA Salford and Manchester, 2016. Copyright Lu Xinjian. Photography courtesy of Art Labor Gallery, Shanghai

Presence, taking place at St George's Hall are hosting a free exhibition of cutting edge, contemporary art. 

The artists included in the exhibition will cover a range of themes. The themes are consumerism, technology, connectivity and the individual's place in the world today. Take a look at Presence: A Window into Contemporary Chinese Art here. 

Now you know.

Liverpool 2018, be part of it.

For more, visit visitliverpool.com/2018 


World Museum
Entrance to the World Museum from above featuring yellow, red, green and blue hanging banners and a giant skeleton of a flying type dinosaur.

From the sea to the stars, a visit to World Museum reveals millions of years of the Earth’s history through thousands of exhibits and hands-on activities.