The Chinese community in Scotland, originating from both mainland China and Hong Kong, numbered just over 10,000, with the most significant population in Glasgow. Glasgow's Chinatown in Cowcaddens features a traditional Chinese pagoda entrance using materials imported from the Orient. The first Chinese restaurant in Glasgow was the Wah Yen in Govan Road, opened by Jimmy Yih in the late 1940s. In 1953, there were only three Chinese families living in Glasgow, and it is believed that about 3,000 Chinese people were resident there in 1994.

  • Date: 17-Dec-2009
  • Place:
    • The Mitchell Library, Archives and Special Collections, 201 North Street, Glasgow, Lanarkshire, G3 7DN
    • San Jai Chinese Project, 53 Rose Street, Glasgow, G3 6SF
    • Wing Fong Elderly Centre, 122 Hill Street, Garnethill, Glasgow, G3 6UA
    • Ricefield Arts and Cultural Centre, 41 West Graham Street, Glasgow, G4 9LJ
    • The former site of the first Chinese restaurant in Glasgow Wah Yen, Govan Road, G51

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17 December 2009

Archive Team and City Team; we reshuffled the teams. My team has a diversity background – Spanish, German, Polish, and I was the only Chinese in the team to identify Chinese documents (if there are any). Got some nice photos and Ryszard was making another sketch, and I found some news from the Glasgow Herald (dated 18th August 1896) regarding Li Hung Chang’s visit to Barrow-in-Furness (at that time he was travelling on a 180-day visit around the world); as well as the Chinese Ambassador, Sir Chihchen Lofengluh’s visit to Glasgow held between 12-15 February 1900; and the Imperial Highness Prince Zai Suun’s visit on 13 December 1909.

The City Team was looking for the Chinatown but they were too early there as no shops had yet opened. They reported they went to the Chinese Community Development Partnership, and then visited the Wing Hong Chinese Elderly Centre. Wing Hong provides a venue for the Chinese Elderly luncheon club and then daily activities.

Snow was falling when the two teams met; we decided to leave Glasgow soonest to avoid getting stuck in the traffic. The scene became whiter and whiter, but it was not the right moment to switch on the romantic mode! We needed a safe drive to our hotel!

Tonight we had a team building excerise – a drawing session.

- by Chungwen Li


One late afternoon we met in the hotel lounge and I made a short introduction into the history of art. After this brief presentation I suggested a drawing exercise. All team members were to pick up the colour that would best express their personality but I made a rule that each colour can only be chosen once. To make it possible everybody drew the lots and the winner was free to choose their colour. Then the next person made their choice from the remaining colours and so on. Next each team member using their particular colour drew the outline of their hand on one big sheet of paper – symbolically shaking the hands with the whole team. This way we created a sort of team flag.

Afterwards everybody was asked to sketch something associated with our field trip. When the drawings were ready the participants took some time to present them to the team. Then all team members tried to interpret and analyse each drawing both artistically and psychologically in order to find out what the others could see in particular sketches. The session was good fun and everybody enjoyed this team building exercise. It was amazing to see how brilliant form of self expression the drawing activity may be. I think it was a very successful session resulting in better integration of our team.

- by Ryszard Rybicki