The Shanghai Community

It was mostly in Pennyfields and Ming Street that the bulk of the people from Shanghai lived and traded, as a distinct community from the Cantonese in Limehouse Causeway.

By the 1920s there were probably a couple of hundred Chinese living in the vicinity.

Quong Yuen Sing's shop at 53, Pennyfields

Quong Yuen Sing’s shop at 53, Pennyfields

Pennyfields in the 1920s

 

 

 

 

Photographs show a narrow street with mostly two-storey buildings with a mixture of shops, restaurants, domestic dwellings and a number of pubs.  Pennyfields was also the location for a number of social organisations such as the Chee King Tong at no.48, the Chung Hwa Club, where Chinese language and crafts were taught, and latterly the Chinese Seaman’s Club.

Quong Yuen Sing’s grocery shop at no.53 on the corner with Turner’s Buildings was probably the most photographed shop in Limehouse, and had its shop-front closely copied for the film Twinkletoes (1926).

Pennyfields, early 50's

Pennyfields, early 50’s

Pennyfields 1960s Flats

Pennyfields 1960s Flats

War-time bomb damage followed by 1950s slum clearance schemes replaced the narrow buildings with the flats that stand today and effectively displaced the remaining remnants of the Limehouse Chinatown community.