All things old China - books, anecdotes, stories, podcasts, factoids & ramblings from the author Paul French

Madame Chiang’s Sunglasses, 1940

Posted: October 6th, 2021 | No Comments »

Nothing to say here – though if anyone knows the brand that’s be excellent to know – but finding Madame Chiang’s (Soong Mayling) sunglasses, as worn here in Chongqing in 1940, very cool….

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The 1A Trolleybus – Old Shanghai Signage

Posted: October 5th, 2021 | No Comments »

The 1A trolleybus would have been one of the most interesting rides in old Shanghai – from the Garden Bridge, along the Bund, up Nanjing Road, Bubbling Well Road, Yu Yuen Road to Keswick Road by Jessfield Park (so, Garden Bridge – Bund – Nanjing East Road – Nanjing West Road – Yuyuan Road – Kaixuan Road by Zhongshan Park)…

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Les Fran̤ais de Shanghai (1849-1949) РGuy Brossellet

Posted: October 4th, 2021 | No Comments »

My thanks to Hugues Martin, prolific and long time blogger at Shanghailander on all things old Shanghai and especially Francophile Shanghai. A post of his from 2006 (! – sorry, must have missed that) alerted me to Guy Brossellet’s Les Francais de Shanghai book (fortunately still available, as here on Amazon). Here also is Hugues’s post on the title….

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Das schwierige schöne Leben. Ein deutscher Kaufmann in Shanghai 1906 bis 1952

Posted: October 2nd, 2021 | No Comments »

Yesterday I mentioned Hermann Breuer and his forty years in China with Melchers & Co. Also that Christine Maiwald has written a biography of Breuer. As this book is in German I’m going to post in German but anyone interested can follow the links…the book is available here on Thalia, here on Amazon Germany, while anyone near a Kinokuniya in Asia can get it here.

Hermann W. Breuer (1884 – 1973) ging 1906, mit 22 Jahren, für das Bremer Übersee-Haus Melchers & Co. als Kaufmann nach Shanghai und empfand sich bald als »Sohn des Reiches der Mitte«. Seine Geschichte steht exemplarisch für das schwierige schöne Leben der deutschen Kaufleute in der internationalen Handelsmetropole Shanghai während der ersten Hälfte des 20. Jahrhunderts. Sie beginnt in einer Zeit kolonialer Ansprüche und endet mit dem Neubeginn des deutsch-chinesischen Austauschs, den Breuer als Vorsitzender des Ostasiatischen Vereins Bremen mit prägte. Unterhaltsam und mit großer Kenntnis wird erzählt vom Reisen und Alltagsleben in China, von Fahrten mit der Transsibirischen Eisenbahn und auf Ozeandampfern, von neuen Kommunikationsmitteln, von Briten, Amerikanern und Chinesen, die Breuer im Job, in Clubs, beim Sport begegneten. Mut und Nächstenliebe bewies Breuer angesichts der Kriege und Umbrüche in China, des deutschen Nationalsozialismus in Shanghai, der Probleme russischer und jüdischer Flüchtlinge. Inspiriert von Briefen und Fotografien im Familienbestand durchforschte die Autorin Archive in Deutschland und China, sprach mit letzten Zeitzeugen. Sie lässt die Leser teilhaben am detektivischen Zusammenfügen von Puzzlesteinchen zur Lebensgeschichte eines sympathischen Menschen. Erzählt mit Empathie, Humor und Sinn für die Details des Alltags, ist diese Biografie eine echte Entdeckung.

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Herman Breuer , 40 Years with Melchers Shanghai

Posted: October 1st, 2021 | No Comments »

Hermann Breuer who worked for many years in Shanghai for Melchers & Co., Christine Maiwald, his new biographer (see tomorrow’s post here) very kindly sent me some images to post associated with Hermann’s story….

Hermann, when first in Shanghai, at home in 1907
Shanghai Racecourse and Bubbling Well Road postcard, 1930
A Postcard from Peking, 1926
Melchers Shanghai staff photo, 1936
Permits 1947
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International Podcast Day 2021

Posted: September 30th, 2021 | No Comments »

On International Podcast Day 2021 I offer you a BBC Radio 3 & BBC Sounds Peking Noir & a RTHK3 Strangers on the Praia (Finalist NYC Radio Awards BTW) for your consideration…

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Gloria Swanson’s Things Chinese

Posted: September 29th, 2021 | No Comments »

Gloria Swanson at home in 1960 by Jack Mitchell, who photographed her many times throughout her career. Don’t know the backstory to these shots but clearly Gloria’s choice of a porcelain Chinese teacup, a black silk with gold moons blouse and an apparently blackwood Chinese style frame in the background indicate a tastes for things Chinese…

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A Little Chinoiserie Inspiration on the 1920s Tube

Posted: September 28th, 2021 | No Comments »

Dora Batty’s illutration for London Underground in 1926 encouraging Londonders to use the tube to get out into the country has a nice chinoiserie touch in the Qing-inspired blouse. Batty (1891-1966) was a British designer, working in illustration, poster design, pottery and textiles. I know of no connection between her and China so assume she was simply reflecting 1920s chinoiserie-inspired fashion trends.

Dora Batty for London Underground, 1926
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