Ceremonial Arch Entrance to the Chinese Community on Henry Street in Liverpool

Ceremonial Arch Entrance to the Chinese Community on Henry Street in Liverpool

The Pagoda of The Hundred Harmonies Centre was established with an inner cities partnership urban grant in 1982 to serve the chinese people and the local community in Liverpool as a focal point for chinese social and cultural affairs.  Founded in 1976 by Brian Tai-Shen Wang from Taiwan, below, it was intended to increase understanding of the self-contained chinese community within Liverpool and promote their arts, music and culture.
imageMr Wang also founded the Tai-Shen Theatre Group which managed the centre for many years. Liverpool has the oldest Chinese community in Europe and there is much pride in the history of this community.

The community celebrated the Royal Wedding in 1981

The community celebrated the Royal Wedding in 1981

The Prince and Princess of Wales opened the newly renovated £228,000 pagoda style building during their visit to Liverpool on April 2, 1982 and were greeted by Mr. Wang and the Lord Lieutenant of Leeds.
image image

An enthusiastic crowd of over 1,000 people singing and waving bunches of spring daffodils was awaiting them.

imageimage imageOne eager child, Colin Griffiths, above, could not wait to meet the Princess; he wiggled through the security cordon to quickly give her a big kiss and plant a big bouquet of daffodils in her hand.

During the lunchtime visit, Mr. Wang guided them around the centre.
image Diana is awed by the large ceremonial golden dragon as she begins to paint its eye.
imageAmong the crowd inside, they viewed the spectacular ceremonial golden dragon, above, and a Chinese inscription on the outer wall of the building which proclaimed: “This community will strive for prosperity, harmony, and the aspiration for future multi-racial integration and understanding of all peoples.”

On the menu for lunch was a sumptuous 7 course banquet of chinese delicacies including chicken with cashews, lemon chicken, duckling, chinese dumplings and sweet and sour fish.

After lunch, they were treated to a Chinese Cabaret of traditional dance and music orchestrated by Mr Li Kui Hsuing who founded the original chinese orchestra in Liverpool and is originally from China.
imageimageDiana chatted with the young performers after the show and they were all smiles as they met her in this wonderful, rare, photo below.
imageAlthough Prince Charles unveiled a special plaque in Chinese and English commemorating their visit, there was no official ribbon cutting ceremony. The Chinese custom of painting the eyes on the dragon was the official opening event and both the Prince and Princess took turns painting the eyes as Mr. Wang and the crowd watched in enjoyment. imageimageimageimage

Diana then stepped back and plugged in the electric dragon as the eyes lit up to everyone’s delight!  The dragon was eventually mounted on top of the new building.

Today the centre, above, is known as The Pagoda Chinese Youth and Community Centre and is a thriving part of Liverpool’s downtown area and the community at large.

The Prince and Princess spent the night in Merseyside as the guests of the Earl of Derby at his ancestral home, Knowsley Hall, pictured above.  It was the first time that the Prince had been there publicly and the Liverpool Echo reported the very next day that he was delighted to be staying there.
Fashion note: Diana is wearing a raspberry pink wool maternity coat by Bellville Sassoon and the matching hat trimmed in velvet is by John Boyd. The hat has a wonderful large velvet bow under the brim on the side. Her blue maternity dress was by The Chelsea Design Group of London, owned by Catherine Walker.

Liverpool Echo 1982, 1997


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