Thursday, 30 January 2014

The London List No.4: Chinese New Year

This weekend sees the great celebrations of Chinese New Year in Soho…

1. At the Chinese New Year, children receive gifts of red envelopes full of money. Tradition states that the amount should be an even number, but never an amount divisible by four: four symbolizes death.

2. The Westminster Chinese Library, housed within the Charing Cross Library, has a collection of over 50,000 Chinese books.

3. Limehouse in East London was the original Chinatown.

4. The area of Soho known as Chinatown boasts over 80 restaurants.

5. Musical Chinatown: Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club began its existence in Chinatown in the basement of no. 39 Gerrard Street. Led Zeppelin had their first rehearsal in Gerrard Street. Only no one can remember where… (join us on the Rock'n'Roll London Walk every Friday).

6. Chinese people constitute the fourth largest Asian group in London numbering around 115,000.

7. This year is The Year of the Horse. Notable London foundations in the Year of the Horse include: 

  • The Gielgud Theatre on Shaftesbury Avenue (est. 1906 as the Hicks Theatre)
  • The Royal Air Force (at the Hotel Cecil 1918)
  • Equity, the actors’ trade union (1931)
  • Waterloo Bridge (partially opened 1942)
  • The Troubadour Coffee House (Old Brompton Road – still going strong!)
  • The Jimi Hendrix Experience (founded in London 1966)

8. Eight tasty London ways to celebrate the New Year courtesy of

 (More London Lists soon…)

A London Walk costs £9 – £7 concession. To join a London Walk, simply meet your guide at the designated tube station at the appointed time. Details of all London Walks can be found at

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