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FLACK, May (1891-1954)

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0074 LMA/4507
Held at: London Metropolitan Archives
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Full title: FLACK, May (1891-1954)
Date(s): 1888-2008
Level of description: Collection
Extent: 0.38 linear metres.
Name of creator(s): Flack | May | 1891-1954 | boarding house owner


Administrative/Biographical history:

May Matilda Hartle was born in Worcestershire on 16 September 1891. In 1901, at the age of 12, May moved to London. Her first job was working at a Chinese laundry on the Barking Road. In 1909, May married Archibald Flack and moved to Limehouse, East London. During the late 19th Century and early 20th Century, Limehouse had a large Chinese community. May set up a boarding house for foreign seamen and became a very prominent figure in the area. She saw first hand many of the changes to London's Chinatown in Limehouse.

In 1932, The People newspaper picked up on her story and proclaimed her the 'White Woman Ruler of Chinatown'. The story of her life in Chinatown was serialised weekly in the Sunday People.

May Flack died in 1954.


Scope and content/abstract:

Personal papers of May Flack, owner of a boarding house for the Chinese community in Limehouse, including birth, marriage and death certificates; papers relating to members of Flack's family such as National Service cards, medical cards, letters and so on; family trees and an ancestry by DNA test; family photographs and newspaper cuttings relating to May Flack and Chinatown in Limehouse.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

Listed in accordance with LMA Listing guidelines and classification scheme introduced October 2007. Arranged by series then into subseries; thereafter files are listed in chronological order by creation date.

Conditions governing access:

These records are available for public inspection, although records containing personal information are subject to access restrictions under the UK Data Protection Act, 1998.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Copyright to this collection rests with the depositor.

Finding aids:

Please see online catalogues at:

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

This collection was acquired in 2008 as part of the 'Footprints of the Dragon' Heritage Lottery Fund project led by the Chinese National Healthy Living Centre.

Allied Materials

Related material:

The following Chinese community collections were acquired as part of 'Footprints of the Dragon' Heritage Lottery Fund project led by Chinese National Healthy Living Centre: LMA/4497-4515, 4518, 4520

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:

Rules or conventions:
Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions:
Records prepared May to September 2011.

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