Striking photos of Chinese sailors living in a squalid Liverpool hostel from a bygone era

Photos show the intolerable conditions as the men washed in sinks and buckets and cooked food in stoves in their cramped bedrooms

Stunning archive photos show the reality of daily life for Chinese sailors living in a squalid Liverpool hostel.

Dating mostly from the 1940s and 1960s, the striking images show men living in cramped conditions, living on top of each other in bunk beds.

Some of the photos show what we would now consider intolerable conditions as the men washed in sinks and buckets or cooked food in stoves in their dingy bedrooms.

READ MORE: Where Liverpool’s original Chinatown was and why it had to move

However, there are other images showing the social side of inns with men smoking together around a table or playing mah-jong.

During the 1930s, this area of ​​the city then known as “Chinatown” had fallen into disrepair due to the economic depression and its effects on maritime trade. It was during World War II, Chinese merchant seamen helped feed and supply Britain, with many sailors losing their lives there.

However, after the war ended, hundreds of Chinese sailors who had settled in Liverpool were secretly expelled from the UK. Home Office officials, along with Liverpool Police, arrested Chinese sailors and forcibly returned them to China.

In 2006, six decades after the deportations, a commemorative plaque in remembrance of deported Chinese sailors was installed on Liverpool’s Pier Head.

Below are 17 photographs of Chinese sailors at a hostel in Liverpool, some of whom may well have been deported to China – despite marrying and raising families in Liverpool – once serving in Britain ended.

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