Chinese diaspora in Britain
The first recorded Chinese person in Britain was Michael Alphonsius Shen Fu-
Tsung, the son of Chinese Christian parents, who came to the court of King
James II (1685-1688). Shen was the first person to catalogue the Chinese
manuscripts in the Bodleian Library, Oxford. He died in 1691. His portrait was
painted in 1687 by the painter Sir Godfrey Kneller and still hangs in the Queen's
Britain began maritime trade with China in the 1600s and Chinese sailors first
came to London on board East India Company ships. They lived in and around
Limehouse (now Poplar High Street) near the docks.
A Chinese community developed in Liverpool, due to its importance as a
maritime city with shipping companies trading with China.
British shipping companies first started employing Chinese sailors during the
Napoleonic Wars (1803-1815) to replace the British sailors who had been called
up to the navy.
John Anthony, a Chinese sailor who looked after the accomodation needs of
Chinese sailors for the East India Shipping Company, became the first Chinese
person to be naturalised as a British citizen.
By the mid 1850s, many Chinese sailors lived in lodging houses by the riverside
in Shadwell, London (near the present day Wapping Underground Station).
The Census recorded 78 Chinese-born residents in England and Wales.
The first Chinese student to graduate from a British university received his MD
(doctoral degree for physicians) from Edinburgh University.
The Census recorded 147 Chinese-born residents in England and Wales.
The first direct steamship service from Europe to China was established in
Liverpool by Alfred and Philip Holt's Blue Funnel Line. Chinese crew were
employed on lower than average wages.
Some of the Chinese community in London consisted of stranded sailors who
worked at the docks unloading tea from China. Later India replaced China as