Monday, February 23, 2009

Rick Stein – From Padstow Back to China

Stuck in Shanghai I haven’t been able to see it but the BBC TV show Who Do You Think You Are?, the popular series in which celebrities trace their family trees apparently found that Rick Stein, the fish chef with the restaurant in Padstow, Cornwall, had a maternal great-grandfather, Henry Parkes, the 19th century Methodist missionary. Henry was one of the first missionaries to travel into China when the doors were forcibly opened following the Opium War.

Henry Parkes was a Wesleyan Methodist Missionary Society member, who, in 1862 (just after the Second Opium War), travelled to China to spread the word. Parkes and his wife Annie, spent close to two decades in Asia mostly based in Canton living among the Chinese. It was a rough posting, he was petitioning to come home when his two sons died in China of disease. Parkes was finally allowed to return to England in 1882

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