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Blue plaque for Blue Funnel's Chinese seamen

'Contribution to city should never be overlooked'

Published on November 15th 2013.


Blue plaque for Blue Funnel's Chinese seamen
 

A BLUE plaque is to be unveiled to mark the role Chinese seamen played in the history of Liverpool. 

The plaque is on the exterior wall of the New Capital restaurant, Nelson Street, which housed the Blue Funnel Shipping Office between 1950 and 1969. 

The plaque is the brainchild of former It's Immaterial frontman John Campbell and his partner, Moira Kenny, who are working on a wider project to capture the hidden histories of Liverpool’s Chinese community which has received a Heritage Lottery Fund grant of £49,400.

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As The Sound Agents, the pair are creating an oral history of the community.

Moira said: “The idea for the plaque came about over lunch in a Chinese restaurant in Chinatown with four Shanghai former Blue Funnel seamen. Together we wanted to celebrate the happy and tragic times that we have been recording through the Liverpool Chinatown Oral History. 

“Our gaffer Mr Sing Zhay Woo was the lifeboat instructor in the Blue Funnel Office and worked with the Shore Gang. The plaque will become an iconic attraction for sailors and their families worldwide". 

A ceremony, attended by Chinese sailors and invited guests, will take place on Monday 18 November at 12 noon. 

The Blue Funnel Shipping Line was the main British shipping line which traded with China. 

Before the Line was founded in 1865 there was a small Chinese community in Liverpool but many of the Chinese seafarers employed by Blue Funnel settled in the city. 



By the Second World War between 15 and 20,000 Chinese seafarers had made Liverpool  their home. However, following the war the Government took action to repatriate large numbers of them, often with their families being unaware of what became of them. It is understood that the Blue Funnel Line attempted to help families affected by repatriation..

Steve MunbySteve MunbyFunding for the plaque has been provided through the Riverside ward councillors’ fund. Local councillor and city council cabinet member Steve Munby said: “Liverpool prides itself on its maritime history and an important part of that history is the role of Chinese seamen. 

“Many of them gave their lives while serving with the Merchant Navy and others, shamefully, were forcibly removed from their homes and families. 

“The contribution Chinese seafarers have made to the city should never be overlooked and this plaque recognises their role and that of the Blue Funnel Line.”

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Derek LoghlinNovember 15th 2013.

Great news for China town. Glad to hear that the Chinese community are being recognised. Liverpool China town is one of the oldest in the UK. I have been approached on many occasions by visitors to Liverpool for directions to China town. The arch is magnificent, but the area a bit run down. With the growing cruise liners we need to invest.Chinatown should be one of the main attractions for visitors.......Liverpool pride

AnonymousNovember 16th 2013.

Agree, so why is the hotel being left to wrack and ruin

1 Response: Reply To This...
John BradleyNovember 16th 2013.

You means this one which is currently be rebuilt? upload.wikimedia.org/…/The_Scandinavian_Hotel%2C_06_June_2013.jpg…

fairy nuffNovember 24th 2013.

It's about time someone at Liverpool Confidential took another photograph of Steve Munby, he will forever have that drained expression, and be remembered for "carrying the can".

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