Main gate on Wardour Street
|Ceremonial county||Greater London|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Alternative Chinese name|
Chinatown is an ethnic enclave in the City of Westminster, London, bordering Soho to its north and west, Theatreland to the south and east. The enclave currently occupies the area in and around Gerrard Street. It contains a number of Chinese restaurants, bakeries, supermarkets, souvenir shops, and other Chinese-run businesses. The first Chinatown was located in Limehouse in the East End.
The first area in London known as Chinatown was located in the Limehouse area of the East End 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 was known through exaggerated reports and tales of slum housing and (the then-legal) opium dens, rather than the Chinese restaurants and supermarkets of the current Chinatown. However, much of the area was damaged by aerial bombing during the Blitz in the Second World War, 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, which is off Shaftesbury Avenue did not start to be established until the 1970s. Previously, 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 Boulogne 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, Harrison Marks' Glamour Studio, an Indian restaurant and various brothels. Probably the first Chinese restaurants opened in Lisle Street,parallel to Gerrard Street, and more opened gradually; one of the first restaurants was Kowloon Restaurant. The Tailor & Cutter did not close down until around 1974. The area now has more than 80 restaurants.
In 2005, the property developer Rosewheel proposed a plan to redevelop the eastern part of Chinatown. The plan was opposed by many of the existing retailers in Chinatown, as they believe that the redevelopment would drive out the traditional Chinese retail stores from the area and change the ethnic characteristic of Chinatown. In October 2013 and July 2018, the London Chinatown Community Centre (LCCC) organised a one-day shutdown in protest of violent tactics by immigration officers from the Home Office.
The London Chinatown Community Centre (LCCC) has been housed in the Chinatown area since it was founded in 1980 by Dr Abraham Lue. The Centre claims to have received 40,000 people for help and assistance since its foundation. Located since 1998 on the second floor of 28-29 Gerrard Street, the Centre relocated to 2 Leicester Court in 2012, above the Hippodrome Casino.
On 25 July 2016, a new Chinatown gate on Wardour Street was opened by Prince Andrew, the Duke of York. It was made by Chinese artisans and assembled in London. The gate is in the style of the Qing dynasty.
There was a Chinese-style pavilion at Newport Place from the 1980s which was a popular meeting point, but it was demolished in 2016 after more than thirty years, despite protests. The development authorities had plans to renovate and enlarge the square.The construction of a new pavilion at a different location was announced.
Chinatown has no officially defined size, but it has commonly been considered to approximately encompass Gerrard Street, the bottom half of Wardour Street, Rupert Street and Rupert Court, a section of Shaftesbury Avenue and Lisle Street, Macclesfield Street and Newport Place, Newport Court and Little Newport Street.
The City of Westminster operates the Charing Cross Library with the Westminster Chinese Library.
The nearest London Underground stations are Leicester Square and Piccadilly Circus.
The films Ping Pong (1986) and Soursweet (1988) are set in Chinatown; they are regarded as the first British-Chinese films, and make extensive use of Chinatown locations.
There is a China Town car park, which is underneath Vale Royal House, a large residential block in Newport Court, both built in the 1980s and managed by Westminster City Council.
Soho is an area of the City of Westminster, part of the West End of London. Originally a fashionable district for the aristocracy, it has been one of the main entertainment districts in the capital since the 19th century.
The West End of London is a district of Central London, west of the City of London and north of the River Thames, in which many of the city's major tourist attractions, shops, businesses, government buildings and entertainment venues, including West End theatres, are concentrated.
Shaftesbury Avenue is a major street in the West End of London, named after Anthony Ashley Cooper, 7th Earl of Shaftesbury. It runs north-easterly from Piccadilly Circus to New Oxford Street, crossing Charing Cross Road at Cambridge Circus. From Piccadilly Circus to Cambridge Circus, it is in the City of Westminster, and from Cambridge Circus to New Oxford Street, it is in the London Borough of Camden.
Wardour Street is a street in Soho, City of Westminster, London. It is a one-way street that runs north from Leicester Square, through Chinatown, across Shaftesbury Avenue to Oxford Street. Throughout the 20th century the street became a centre for the British film industry and the popular music scene.
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Hatton Garden is a street and commercial area in the Holborn district of the London Borough of Camden, close to the boundary with the City of London. It takes its name from Sir Christopher Hatton, a favourite of Queen Elizabeth I, who established a mansion here and gained possession of the garden and orchard of Ely Place, the London seat of the Bishops of Ely. It remained in the Hatton family and was built up as a stylish residential development in the reign of King Charles II.
St James's is a central district in the City of Westminster, London, forming part of the West End. In the 17th century the area developed as a residential location for the British aristocracy, and around the 19th century was the focus of the development of gentlemen's clubs. Once part of the parish of St Martin in the Fields, much of it formed the parish of St James from 1685 to 1922. Since the Second World War the area has transitioned from residential to commercial use.
Coventry Street is a short street in the West End of London, connecting Piccadilly Circus to Leicester Square. Part of the street is a section of the A4, a major road through London. It is named after the politician Henry Coventry, secretary of state to Charles II.
St Luke's is a district in central London in the London Borough of Islington. It lies just north of the border with the City of London near the Barbican Estate, and the Clerkenwell and Shoreditch areas. The area takes its name from the now redundant church of St Luke's, on Old Street west of Old Street station. Following the closure of St Luke's Church, the parish was reabsorbed into that of St Giles-without-Cripplegate, from which it had separated in 1733.
Adelphi is a district of the City of Westminster in London. The small district includes the streets of Adelphi Terrace, Robert Street and John Adam Street. Of rare use colloquially, Adelphi is grouped with Aldwych as the greater Strand district which for many decades formed a parliamentary constituency and civil registration district.
St Giles is a district of London, in the south-west of the London Borough of Camden. It gets its name from the parish church of St Giles in the Fields. The combined parishes of St Giles in the Fields and St George Bloomsbury were administered jointly for many centuries; leading to the conflation of the two, with much or all of St Giles usually taken to be a part of Bloomsbury. Points of interest include the church of St Giles in the Fields, the Phoenix Garden and St Giles Circus.
This is a list of the etymology of street names in the London district of Mayfair, in the City of Westminster. It utilises the generally accepted boundaries of Mayfair viz. Marble Arch/Cumberland Gate and Oxford Street to the north, Regent Street to the east, Piccadilly to the south and Park Lane to the west.
This is a list of the etymology of street names in the London district of Soho, in the City of Westminster. The following utilises the generally accepted boundaries of Soho viz. Oxford Street to the north, Charing Cross Road to the east, Shaftesbury Avenue to the south and Regent Street to the west.
This is a list of the etymology of street names in the London district of Covent Garden. Covent Garden has no formally defined boundaries – those utilised here are: Shaftesbury Avenue to the north-west, New Oxford Street and High Holborn to the north, Kingsway and the western half of the Aldwych semi-circle to the east, Strand to the south and Charing Cross Road to the west.
This is a list of the etymology of street names in the London district of Fitzrovia. The following utilises the generally accepted boundaries of Fitzrovia viz. Euston Road to the north, Tottenham Court Road to the east, Oxford Street to the south and Great Portland Street to the west.
This is a list of the etymology of street names in the London district of Holborn. Holborn has no formally defined boundaries - those utilised here are: Theobald’s Road to the north, Gray's Inn Road and the City of London boundary to the east, Victoria Embankment/the Thames to the south, and Lancaster Place, the north-west curve of the Aldwych semi-circle, Kingsway/Southampton Row to the west.
This is a list of the etymology of street names in the London district of Bloomsbury. The following utilises the generally accepted boundaries of Bloomsbury viz. Euston Road to the north, Gray’s Inn Road to the east, New Oxford Street, High Holborn, Southampton Row and Theobald’s Road to the south and Tottenham Court Road to the west.
This is a list of the etymology of street names in the London districts of Clerkenwell and Finsbury, in the London Borough of Islington. The Clerkenwell/Finsbury area has no formally defined boundaries - those used here are: Pentonville Road to the north, Goswell Road to the east, Clerkenwell Road to the south and Gray’s Inn Road to the west. Finsbury was traditionally roughly the northern part of the area covered here, however in practice the name is rarely used these days.
This is a list of the etymology of street names in the London district of Westminster. The Westminster area has no formally defined boundaries - those utilised here are the generally accepted boundaries of: The Mall and Northumberland Avenue to the north, the river Thames and Victoria Embankment/Millbank to the east, Vauxhall Bridge Road to the south and Buckingham Gate, Buckingham Palace Road and Bressenden Place to the west. For convenience Constitution Hill and Spur Road in the Royal Parks, and the area around the Wellington Arch, are included here, as are the streets in the Leicester Square area.
This is a list of the etymology of street names in the London districts of Kennington and Lambeth. The areas have no formally defined boundaries – those utilised here are Westminster Bridge Road/St George’s Circus/London Road to the north, Newington Butts/Kennington Park Road to the east, Kennington Road and Black Prince Road to the south and the river Thames to the west.
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