fbpx
Sunday, July 21, 2024
Concentrating on calligraphy. Image by Robert Postings.
CultureLife & livingLocal

Ping pong, calligraphy and tai-chi for a new generation of East End Chinese

Limehouse’s Chinatown may have relocated to Soho but the Chinese Association of Tower Hamlets still provides tea, table tennis, calligraphy and Cantonese to one of the largest communities of Chinese in London.  

At the Chinese Association of Tower Hamlets, the local Chinese community can enjoy a slice of China. This includes learning Chinese Medicine, doing calligraphy, playing Ping Pong, or just chatting with friends in Cantonese. 

Sailors Palace in Limehouse, where the Chinese Association is based, appears quintessentially British from the outside. However, upon entering the building a very Chinese space is revealed. You will find Chinese newspapers, posters in Chinese advertising events, and Chinese paintings on the walls. Even the hand sanitiser, teapots, and cardboard boxes have Chinese characters on them.

On Tuesdays, this space comes alive as the Chinese Association opens it’s doors to local Chinese residents. Older Chinese Tower Hamlets residents as well as newer generations can participate in classes on Chinese Medicine, line dancing, and calligraphy. 

Calligraphy is by far the most popular. As they catch up with classmates before the class begins, attendees proudly pin up their calligraphy work from the past week onto notice boards around the room. Showing off the work they have completed.

Equally popular, though requiring a bit more energy, a Ping Pong room is hidden away down a flight of stairs. More active members of the community play for hours against each other as the floor quickly becomes littered with wayward ping pong balls. 

Tower Hamlets has over 10,000 Chinese residents, totalling 3.3% of the population and the highest number in England and Wales after the City of London and Cambridge. Once the home for London’s first Chinatown, for the many Chinese residents of our Borough, this space in Limehouse is essential to the community.

Playing ping pong at the Chinese Association of Tower Hamlets in Limehouse.
A game of Ping Pong. Image by Robert Postings.
Playing ping pong at the Chinese Association of Tower Hamlets in Limehouse.
A game of ping pong. Image by Robert Postings.
A lady writes Chinese characters with a calligraphy brush at the Chinese Association of Tower Hamlets.
A calligraphy class at the Chinese Association of Tower Hamlets. Image by Robert Postings.
A lady in a Chinese Medicine class at the Chinese Association of Tower Hamlets with Acupuncture needles.
A lady listening to a Chinese Medicine class wit Acupuncture needles. Image by Robert Postings.
A sign at the Chinese Association in Limehouse saying please mind the steps in English and Chinese.
A sign in English and Chinese. Image by Robert Postings.
A lady practicing calligraphy at the Chinese Association of Tower Hamlets.
Concentrating on calligraphy. Image by Robert Postings.
An older lady practices calligraphy at the Chinese Association of Tower Hamlets.
The joy of calligraphy. Image by Robert Postings.
A Chinese painting at the Chinese Association of Tower Hamlets in Poplar.
A traditional Chinese painting at the Chinese Association of Tower Hamlets. Image by Robert Postings.
A box of ping pong balls at the Chinese Association of Tower Hamlets in Limehouse.
A box of ping pong balls. Image by Robert Postings.
Two ladies laughing at the Chinese Association of Tower Hamlets in Limehouse.
Having a laugh during calligraphy class. Image by Robert Postings.

Please support local journalism.

As a social enterprise using constructive journalism to strengthen communities, we have not put our digital content behind a paywall or subscription fee as we think the benefits of an independent, local publication should be available to everyone in our area.

We are a tiny team of four covering Poplar and Tower Hamlets, relying entirely on member donations. Hundreds of members have already joined. Become a member to donate as little as £3 per month to support constructive journalism and the local community.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.