Newcastle’s Chinatown will be sporting a new radiance this autumn, with the arrival of twenty-two ornate Chinese style lanterns which will add a colourful glow to Stowell Street in the heart of Chinatown, with the help of a donation from Damian Aspinall, Chairman of Aspers Group..
Following the building of the spectacular Chinese Ceremonial Arch in 2005, Newcastle City Council and the Chinese community have worked together to enhance the city’s Chinese quarter, already a popular dining destination for locals and visitors alike.
As part of a ‘Newcastle Chinatown Masterplan’ for Newcastle City Council and the North East Chinese Association in Newcastle (NECA) a proposal to provide themed lighting in Stowell Street was developed after extensive consultation with the local Chinese community to analyse and identify the key issues and opportunities for regenerating Newcastle’s Chinatown.
Barry Yu, speaking on behalf of the Chinese Traders of Chinatown, said:
“It has been over twenty years since the installation of the last themed lighting in Stowell Street, this lighting is now obsolete and in need of replacement, therefore introducing new Chinese themed lighting offers an opportunity to add to the ambiance of this distinctive cultural centre.”
Damian Aspinall commented: “Our donation is part of our ongoing commitment to participating in the life of the Chinese community. Over the past three years, since Aspers at the Gate opened, we have built a very strong relationship with our neighbours. To date we have made contributions to the Chinese New Year and commissioned two stone lions for the entrance to Chinatown.”
The Lord Mayor of Newcastle, Councillor David Wood, will lead the ceremonial switch on of the lights on Sunday 14th September at 8.30 p.m. The Chinese Festivity Group has organised a celebratory event at Stowell Street’s Landmark restaurant prior to the official switch on, when the Lord Mayor will be joined by VIP guests and members of the Chinese community, including internationally acclaimed Chinese artist Wang Qingsong, visiting the North East to stage one of his celebrated tableaux style photographs at Northern Stage. Lion Dancers from Edmund Ng’s Choi Lee Fut Kung Fu Club will perform a dance of good luck and prosperity after the light switch on which will take place near the site of the ceremonial arch at the corner of Stowell Street.
Councillor David Wood, The Lord Mayor of Newcastle, said:
“Chinatown is a vibrant and colourful place to visit, and enhancing the cultural identify of the street will make it a more exciting destination and ensure a sustainable future for the area as a thriving cultural quarter. Newcastle upon Tyne’s Chinese community has been established in Stowell Street area of the city since the late 1970’s, and Newcastle City Council is pleased to be able to work alongside the Chinese community to improve and enhance the district.”