A year long project led by the Manchester Chinese Centre in partnership with Manchester City Council and MOSI to create the first Chinese Archive will be handed over to the city this week.
The Manchester Chinese Archive, funded through a Heritage Lottery Fund grant of £50,000, will be deposited with Manchester Archives at an event at the Greater Manchester County Record Office at 11.50am, Wednesday 11 May 2011.
Guest of honour at the handover will be Master Chu, a man at the centre of the Chinese community in Manchester . For nearly 40 years he has been responsible for training the team inside the iconic New Year's dancing dragon - the fourth eldest dragon anywhere outside China - and has personally funded the team.
The Chinese Archive (http://www.manchesterchinesearchive.org.uk/) is free to use and will provide a permanent archive of Chinese history and culture in Manchester from the 1900s to present day.
Chinese heritage in Manchester is a rich history that is largely unknown outside the Chinese community and is a treasure trove of stories, amazing facts and traditions. A diverse team of 30 volunteers have undertaken 55 interviews with members of the community and these will join photographs and key documents in the archive. Examples of these can also be found on the new website.
Jenny Wong, Director of the Manchester Chinese Centre, said: "Working with the Chinese community to create the archive has been the most amazing experience. We have discovered evidence to show that the community have been in Greater Manchester for at least 150 years, so an archive containing their histories and memories is long over due. We are delighted that this archive will now form part of the City Archives."
Mike Amesbury, Manchester City Council's Executive Member for Culture and Leisure, said: "We hope the archive will not only provide a bank of information for Manchester 's Chinese population but also give locals a unique chance to learn about the fascinating history of Chinese people in Manchester .
"Everyone knows about China Town and the restaurants, but they probably don't know that the Chinese Arch was the first in Europe and the New Year's parade was the first in the UK . Manchester is a real leader for the Chinese community in Europe and the archive will give people a better insight in to this amazing history."
In addition to the archive, the project has created an exhibition, now showing at MOSI, which will run until 15 January 2012 and will bring history to life.
Josie Sykes, Community Development Officer at MOSI, said: "We are very proud to be a partner in the Chinese Archive project and we are pleased to host the exhibition at MOSI until January next year. It's time the Chinese community is celebrated in Manchester and I think people will be surprised and interested in their contribution to the city."
Sara Hilton, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund North West, said: "For over a century, Manchester's China Town has played a vibrant role in the cultural heritage of the city. Thanks to this archive, and the accompanying exhibition, more people will have the chance to explore the fascinating history and traditions of the Chinese community in Manchester. By valuing and sharing our diverse histories through projects like this we can help build understanding and help bring our communities closer together."