On Wednesday 11 May we hosted an event to mark the handover of the Manchester Chinese Archive to Manchester Archives. The project was led by the Manchester Chinese Centre, in partnership with the Museum of Science and Industry and Manchester Library & Information Service. It was funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Manchester Chinese Archive project team
Manchester Chinese Archive project team

Over 80 boxes of archives recording the history of Manchester’s Chinese community were deposited with Manchester Archives by Jenny Wong, the Director of the Manchester Chinese Centre, at the Greater Manchester County Record Office. Special guests included Master Chu, Mr Charlie Chan, Councillor Mike Amesbury, Manchester City Council’s Executive Member for Culture and Leisure, and Susan Williams, North West Committee Chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund. You can read more about the event in this press release.

The Manchester Chinese Archive website is now live and will be added to over time. An exhibition based on the archive is at MOSI’s Community Exhibition Gallery until January 2012.

Volunteers are currently cataloguing the archive, which is accessible with one day’s advance notice at the Greater Manchester County Record Office. Oral history interviews will soon be available too. A draft box list of the archive and an interview list of the oral histories are available online.

The guest of honour Master Chu has been responsible for training the team inside the iconic New Year’s dancing dragon (the fourth eldest dragon anywhere outside China) for over forty years. This programme from the archives of the Free Trade Hall shows the plans for the very first large-scale Manchester Chinese New Year Festival, held at the Free Trade Hall on 15 February 1981. The document was handwritten by Loret Lee, the director of the Chinese Education, Culture and Community Centre, who organised the first festival.