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Coming Down Alert: A Once Beautiful Compound on McGregor Road

Posted: August 22nd, 2011 | 1 Comment »

Following my post a while back on the old and now seemingly lost Studley Avenue in Hongkou the street photographer Sue Anne Tay (with her great Shanghai Street Stories blog) emailed to tell me about a building close to the site on north to south running Lintong Road (formerly McGregor Road). It is one of only a few now sadly relatively intact privately built compounds in that area. There used to be many more but in the last decade the wrecking ball has had pretty much enjoyed free reign across all of Hongkou, Tilanqiao and Yangpu (tourists and foreigners by and large don’t go north east of Suzhou Creek so many people haven’t even registered the extent of destruction over there.

Anyway, here’s Sue Anne:

This is a beautiful entrance along Lintong Lu, leading towards Yulin Lu. There is a story behind this house, built in the simplistic Suzhou-styled rural design. I ran into the owner though I lost my notes and his name. It turns out the the whole house was owned by one family, whose patriarch worked for foreign companies or “æ´‹è¡Œ” (or the industry involving foreign businesses) and designed the entire structure himself. The family also owned the the opposing apartments where each son had owned a house. They lost it all during Communism including many relatives, and were relegated to a small adjacent apartment. Now the plot, as seen from the bird’s eye view (immediately below), is split into two families who don’t really speak to each other. One side has kept the traditional facade though horribly defaced (see picture above) and the other has a metal gate (see second picture below).

The ornate entrance is the left entrance. Shame I don’t have a “contrast” photo of the two entrances – old vs modern. One of the brothers live on the right, and the sister lives on the left. They are separated by a giant structure in the middle which now serves as a shed that was once the main room (see picture immediately below). As you can see from the other photos, the house is now half-torn down (see bottom picture). If I recall right, the developer came and starting going at it and somehow ran out of money. These pictures were taken January 2010, so I don’t know if it’s still in the same state.

(China Rhyming – as my photo from the street outside in the Studley Avenue post taken in August 2011 shows the dereliction has just been left – the damage done through one or two, and another upcoming, Shanghai winter with a smashed roof is probably now irreparable)

One Comment on “Coming Down Alert: A Once Beautiful Compound on McGregor Road”

  1. 1 jennie hayden said at 8:28 pm on July 18th, 2016:

    My grand-mother, Elsie Stallworthy lived at 21 McGregor Road (now named Lintong Lu) between 1926 and 1928.
    I have a photo of her in a rickshaw on the grass compound of the building in front of a row of brick arches.
    I would be very interested if anybody could provide more information on her and her stay in Shanghai, or the building she lived in.

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