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“More than 1,300 Chinese sailors were put on specially assigned ships and sent to the Far East without notice.”
The wives and children of the men believed they had been deserted. It wasn’t until the release of declassified records 50 years later that it was revealed that more than 1,300 Chinese sailors had been put on specially assigned ships and sent to the Far East without notice.
Now Edge Hill University, working with local community group The Dragons of the Pool, will document the stories of the surviving children of the seamen for the first time.
Thanks to a £10,000 Heritage Lottery Funding, this year-long project will record video interviews with the seamen’s descendants, now in their seventies, and capture this important part of British Chinese history for future generations. The project’s research will be then be archived in Birkenhead Library.
The project will culminate in an exhibition at the Williamson Art Gallery, inviting the local community to share their stories of the Liverpool Eurasian community. Chinese seamen began to settle in Liverpool from the end of the 1880s and by the start of the 20th century Liverpool had the largest settlement of Chinese in the UK. The exhibition will feature the iconic photographs taken at the time by acclaimed documentary photography Bert Hardy .
It is hoped the project will help participants to find out the stories behind their fathers’ disappearance and educate the wider community about the shocking events of 1946.
The galleries are open from Wednesday to Sunday from 10am to 5pm, but staff shortages may necessitate early closure of some rooms at the end of the day.