Mr Cheng Shun Lin (1914-1989)
Mr Cheng's government of Hong Kong seamen's discharge book. Accession number MMM.1996.199
Education in China
Cheng Shun Lin was born on 1 September 1914 in Hopeh, China. His father was a seaman who owned his own boat and it was expected that Shun would soon follow in his father's footsteps. However as his mother wanted him to become a monk he was sent to a Buddhist monastery where he received a good education, learning to speak Mandarin as well as Cantonese. Nevertheless rather than becoming a monk he started his working life as a peanut seller to sailors on American ships docked in Shanghai.
He soon became a seafarer with the Blue Funnel Line, which ran shipping services from Liverpool to Asia. In 1945 he obtained his Certificate of Competency as Ship's Cook at the National Sea Training Schools of Nautical Cookery. He continued his service with the Blue Funnel Line in the merchant navy during the Second World War. From 1951 his Government of Hong Kong Seaman's Discharge book lists his many journeys across the world initially as a baker, second cook and latterly chief cook. His conduct and ability is listed as very good throughout.
Mr Cheng also worked in the United Kingdom around this time. His Ministry of Labour Permit 1953 shows that he was authorised to work for 12 months as a restaurant cook in Weston-Super-Mare.
Settling down in England
In 1964 he made his last journey as a seafarer on the 'Clytoneus' and with money paid to him invested in a chip shop business in Bromborough. Here he first met Mrs Violet Robinson, who worked in the shop, with whom he became a life long friend. Later Mr Cheng and Mrs Robinson took on chip shops of their own in Middlewich, Cheshire and then later Speke.
After both their retirements they spent a lot of time in each other's company and did a lot of travelling. These journeys took them to Shanghai and Hong Kong, where Violet met many of Mr Cheng's friends and relatives.
Mr Cheng was naturalised in 1972 when he took the Oath of Allegiance in Liverpool. He had many friends in the Chinese community in the city and was described as most caring and generous.
Violet kindly donated Mr Cheng's personal papers to the Museum of Liverpool in 1996 after his death in 1989. These include the items featured on this page and many others including a Chinese/English translation book and an Alien Crewman Landing Permit and Identification Card, granting Mr Cheng shore leave in the United States.
Mr Cheng and Mrs Violet Robinson (seated) receive tea during a tea ceremony after a friend's son's wedding in Singapore. Accession number MMM.1996.199