Welcome again to Then and Now, where each week we compare images of Merseyside streets, landmarks and buildings from bygone days with how they look today.

This week our main image shows children playing on the cobblestones in Liverpool’s Chinatown in November 1933.

Mothers and their babies are watching from their front doors as shouting and laughter echo down the street during the inter-war years.

A few cars are parked in the distance, beyond the gas lamps, leaving the children to enjoy themselves safely – perhaps only interrupted by the welcome arrival of a passing ice cream van.

The scene is in stark contrast to the deserted city roads of today, left empty by the coronavirus lockdown.

Liverpool’s Chinatown, renowned for its restaurants, shops and supermarkets, is the oldest Chinese community in Europe.

Its roots date back to 1834 when the port of Liverpool started to trade with China, importing silk, cotton and tea.

The community grew in the second half of the 19th century when the Blue Funnel Line operated routes between Hong Kong, Shanghai and Liverpool.

China Town, Liverpool - Then China Town, Liverpool - Now

Liverpool’s Chinatown, centred on Berry Street, includes lantern-style streetlamps as well as street signs written in English and Chinese.

The spectacular paifang or monumental arch on Nelson Street is the largest multiple-span arch of its kind outside China.

It was constructed by 20 craftsmen imported from Liverpool’s twin city of Shanghai and officially opened on Chinese New Year 2000.

The structure is 13.5 metres high and is carved with 200 dragons, 12 of which are pregnant to symbolise good fortune.

Chinatown, close to the Anglican Cathedral, is also home to the Liverpool Chinese Christian Disciples Church and the Liverpool Chinese Gospel Church.

*Many more images from Then and Now will feature in a brilliant new book from publishers iNostalgia. Watch out for more details soon.