The initial area of Chinatown was located in the east part of London, where thousands of Chinese marines settled at the end of the eighteenth century. These had been employed in China. However, for several different reasons, had to live in London.
In 1914, thirty Chinese businesses had opened, most of them to supply goods for the Chinese marines. During the Second World War the area was completely devastated and finding work as a marine for foreigners was a difficult task.
The Chinese who stayed in London went through hardships during the mid-twentieth century. Luckily for them, soldiers and marines coming from Asia still enjoyed eating authentic Asian cuisine. During this period, the first Chinese restaurants opened on Gerrard Street, a place that has a high gastronomic reputation nowadays.
The popularity of these Chinese restaurants drew Asian investors and entrepreneurs to the neighbourhood, turning it into what it is now.
When visiting London, this area, very close to Piccadilly tube station, is a great place to wander around and have a bite to eat in one of its many Asian restaurants for approximately £10.
Near Leicester Square and Piccadilly Circus
Tube: Leicester Square (Northern and Piccadilly lines)