Chinese from Bengal Heritage Project

In the early 1960s, Britain saw a sudden influx of Chinese from India. Having fled poverty and famine in southern China, they had set up home in Calcutta, India, and over the space of a century built up a strong and thriving community there. But with the Sino-Indian bor- der dispute of 1962 looming, they were forced to uproot yet again. Certificates of Identity from the British authorities provided them with an escape route from persecution and many found their way to London and Liverpool. Fluent in English, educated and skilled, they contributed to the white-collar workforce that post-War Britain so greatly needed. This is their story: a story of courage, hardship and perseverance.

This collection of oral histories, recorded and collated by The Meridian Society with funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund, focuses on this group of Chinese whose unique experiences have lain hidden from mainstream British Chinese history. Their fascinating accounts, illustrated by photographs, documents and memorabilia, can be seen by clicking on any of the links below.

You can also download a PDF brochure about the project here (23 MB).

Calcutta Chinatown
Family Origins
Professions & Trades
Births Marriages & Deaths
Life At Home
The British Presence
The Japanese Threat
Partition & The Calcutta Riots
Looking West
Sino-India War
Departure From India
Arrival In Britain