Since the 18th century
The Chinese community has always been present in London since the 18th century when the East India Company employed thousands of them as sailors. However, the present Chinatown began to be established in the 1950s and 1060s when a large influx of migrants from Hong Kong began settling here. By then, soldiers of the British Empire who had acquired a taste for the flavors of the Far East began frequenting the restaurants on Gerrard Street and soon a strong community was built around the area.
Chinatown is relatively small with enough pedestrianised streets to explore the area on foot. Naturally, visitors throng to Chinatown for their authentic Chinese fare which can be found in any of the over 80 restaurants and eateries that dot the scenery here. From Sichuanese to Cantonese to Hunanese to just Chinese, as well as Thai, Vietnamese and Taiwanese, you can enjoy a fabulous range of Far Eastern flavors here. There are also a couple of supermarkets (See Woo) as well as several shops that trade in traditional Chinese goods and ingredients as well as souvenirs and curios.