It all started 100 years ago

Celebrate Chinese New Year at Sheffield City Hall' Wanlin Dance School Sheffield
Celebrate Chinese New Year at Sheffield City Hall' Wanlin Dance School Sheffield

One of the changes in Sheffield city centre in recent years has been the number of Chinese restaurants and shops that have been opened on the roads to the Western Bank student campus.

Chinese students now comprise more than 10% of the population of the University of Sheffield, totalling 4,163 last year.

When the 1,683 at Sheffield Hallam University are taken into account, it’s a sizeable minority, adding to the permanent Chinese population that has been based for years in the London Road area.

The influx of Chinese young people is both a financial boost to the universities and the local economy. Some of the new student flats are being built on the basis of the demand from Chinese students.

So there are plenty of reasons for Sheffield to join the start of celebrations tomorrow (Friday) when the Year of the Horse begins.

In fact, various activities will be taking place across the campuses and the city over the next two weeks.

One of the most high profile - and traditional - will be the dragon and lion dance parade in front of the town hall on Saturday at noon.

Local members of the Chinese Association hold their celebrations at King Edward VII Upper School in Glossop Road, Broomhill, on Sunday afternoon.

Then dancers, musicians and acrobats from Chengdu will perform in the City Hall on Tuesday.

The Chinese Students and Scholars Association stages a lantern festival at the Octagon Centre in Western Bank on Sunday, February 16 at 2pm.

Business management student, aged 21, from Shanghai, said: “A common celebration is to set off fireworks on New Year’s Eve and it’s a great time for the whole family to sit together and enjoy a wonderful meal.

“In China, we usually have a one-week holiday to mark the New Year, so we spend many days visiting friends and family.”

n Plans for a Chinatown in Sheffield have been in the air for years - but have never materialised.

The grandest project was in the 1980s for a large commercial, residential and leisure development in Attercliffe. More recently, thinking has been not quite so ambitious and based around the long-established communities around the London Road area where there are many Chinese and other South East Asian restaurants.