Heritage Project: Chinese Lives in Birmingham

Chinese Lives in Birmingham is a community heritage project that aims to chart the development of the Chinese community in Birmingham from the 1950s to the present day. Currently there are around 20,000 Chinese people living in Birmingham; and the project hopes to provide a snapshot of their lives through individual stories and memories.


The Chinese Community Centre-Birmingham has received a grant from the Lottery Heritage Fund to enable them to do this. The project will record the development of the Chinese community in Birmingham through peoples’ life stories. A permanent archive will be created which will be kept in the new Library of Birmingham.

If you or your family are of Chinese origin, The Chinese Community Centre-Birmingham want your story.



Although there are accounts of trade links between China and Birmingham as early as 1794, with delegations at the very beginning of the 20th century, the Chinese community only started taking root in the 1950s.

Lead officer for “Chinese Lives in Birmingham” Kate Gordon says: “We are especially keen to talk to those who lived or worked in Birmingham in the 1950’s -1970’s, and who will have many stories to tell about those early days in the community’s life.  We are asking Nee Hao subscribers from Birmingham to encourage their elderly family and friends to contact us so that we can talk to them.  We are equally keen to talk to the younger generation of British Born Chinese to find out what the Chinese Community means to them.

We would really appreciate people lending us photographs or documents showing Chinese people at work, leisure or socialising with family and friends in Birmingham.”

If you would like to contribute to this project, please Contact : Kate Gordon or Sylvia Chan on 0121 685 8510. 

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