“History doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme.”
— Mark Twain

Shanghai’s Smokestacks – See ’em While you can

Posted: March 28th, 2011 | 1 Comment »

You don’t have to go that far back to remember when chimneys cropped up all over Shanghai. In the main areas of Puxi where the demolition and rebuilding has been most aggressive only one or two now exist. Quite a few though linger on out in the more working class environs of Hongkou (Hongkew) and Yangpu (Yantszepoo). However, the factories or utilities they’re attached to are mostly no longer in use and so they’re coming down steadily. Of course probably only a couple will survive – one or two may be preserved – the chimney at the Nanshi Power Plant was saved as long as EXPO was on as an attraction but I’m not sure whether that protection will extend now EXPO is over, and anyway they adapted it, painted it etc so it was changed. I know I’m on a complete loser hoping some industrial architecture gets preserved in a city that can’t even preserve international-level art-deco classics or totally unique architecture such as shikumens, but still…

Anyway, in order to remember and sing the praises of the humble Shanghai smokestack – initially a symbol of Shanghai as the mightiest city in the Orient and then as the symbol of Communist industrial advancement rampant – I offer you one about to go (on Tongbei Road – formerly Thorburn Road on the Hongkew/Yangtszepoo borders) and the former magnificence of the old Yangtszepoo Waterworks and its chimney in all its glory.

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One Comment on “Shanghai’s Smokestacks – See ’em While you can”

  1. 1 Sue Anne said at 12:05 pm on March 29th, 2011:

    It’s been harder to get into those factory spaces.

    I’ve been out to the Yangshupu Powerplant, address 2800 Yangshupu Lu which leads you towards Fuxing Island. It’s located next to a giant scrap collecting centre and an incinerator. A few old men fly kites there. Unfortunately, the electric company closed up on all sides, impossible to get in.


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