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

RAS Shanghai – Peter Hibbard Musing on Shanghai and, eeerrr, Yorkshire – 21/7/15

Posted: July 19th, 2015 | No Comments »

RAS LECTURE  

Tuesday 21 July  2015

7:00 PM for 7:15 PM start

Radisson Blu Plaza Xingguo Hotel, Tavern Bar

78 XingGuo Road, Shanghai

Peter Hibbard on

Musings on Shanghai and Yorkshire

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Peter Hibbard made the monumental move from the centre of Shanghai to Holmbridge, a small village in West Yorkshire, in July 2013. Two years on he is back – to take all those pictures he never thought worth taking and to gather material for a new edition of his book The Bund: China Faces West – but most importantly to visit family and friends. Please do join him this evening for a long overdue get together and a richly illustrated talk on some connections between his old and new homes.

Yorkshire, a proud and beautiful place, is known to many as “God’s own country.”* It certainly produced some ecclesiastical giants. Foremost among them was James Hudson Taylor who founded the China Inland Mission in 1865. Their headquarters were in Shanghai before liberation. Yorkshire’s magnificent countryside and fine architecture, including its numerous churches, was the topic of an illustrated talk given by the much-admired Rev. C. E. Darwent to the Shanghai public in January 1913. Darwent took up his post as Minister at the Union Church in Shanghai in 1899 following many years in Yorkshire. He was an active RAS member, founder of the Shanghai Photographic Society and author of a renowned guidebook to the city.

Tonight Peter will reveal how Barnsley is promoting Hudson Taylor’s heritage to attract Chinese tourists, retrace Darwent’s colourful Yorkshire journey and look at some historical commercial links between Bradford and Shanghai. He will also contest Noel Coward’s claim that Shanghai was ‘a cross between Brussels and Huddersfield’.

* = just for the record the operator of this blog does not in any way endorse the ridiculous idea that Yorkshire (or anywhere within 100 miles of it, is “God’s own country” or believe that anyone in their sane mind would contest anything Noel Coward ever said or has any idea what the Shanghainese is for “ecky thump”.

Peter Hibbard MBE, an urban planner and sociologist, turned his attentions to the development of the Chinese tourism industry in 1983. He was a Visiting Scholar at Hong Kong University’s Centre of Asian Studies in 1985/86 and lectured in tourism studies at the Beijing Institute of Tourism thereafter, before moving to Shanghai in 1991. He has devoted much of his life to researching the historical development of Shanghai and of tourism in China. Peter is very much concerned with promoting links with the past and with fostering awareness, understanding and appreciation of Shanghai’s unique historical inheritance. He was President of the re-convened Royal Asiatic Society China in Shanghai from to 2007 to 2011 and is the author of “The Bund Shanghai: China Faces West”, “Beyond Hospitality: The History of the Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels, Ltd.” among other works.

Talk Cost: RMB 70.00 (RAS members) and RMB 100.00 (non-members). Includes glass of wine or soft drink. Those unable to make the donation but wishing to attend may contact us for exemption.

 

Membership applications and membership renewals will be available at this event.  Those unable to make the donation but wishing to attend may contact us for exemption.

RAS Monographs: Series 1 & 2 will be available for sale at this event. RMB 100 each (cash sale only).

 

To RSVP:  Please “Reply” to this email or write to

 RAS Bookings at: bookings@royalasiaticsociety.org.cn

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Malraux’s Modern Canton – Mid-1920s

Posted: July 18th, 2015 | No Comments »

Speaking yesterday of Malraux’s description of Raffles Hotel in Singapore in The Conquerors, I also rather like his description of the modern portions of Canton in the mid-1920s…Canton’s modernism gets rather crowded out by all the hoopla over old Shanghai (yea, I know – guilty as charged) but is worthy of more study and comment….

“At Canton, where once were ancient pagodas, there are now California hotels, shops with thirteen stories, and those terrible skyscrapers, which have a cinema on the ground floor, a theatre on the first, all manner of amusements on the second – automatic machines, bowls, acrobats, gladiators, dancers; on the third, a smoke-room; on the fourth a tearoom; on the fifth, a select brothel; on the sixth, offices. Higher still, flats occupied by ladies of doubtful reputation, and higher yet, more offices. On the roof, a garden and a Russo-European restaurant.”

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The Canton Bund and Daixin Department Store, 1920s

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Singapore – Raffles’s “Shaddock Flavoured Lemonade”

Posted: July 17th, 2015 | No Comments »

Happened to be re-reading Andre Malraux’s The Conquerors at the moment which has a mention of Raffles Hotel in Singapore around 1925 (and published in 1928)….am intrigued by “shaddock flavoured lemonade”….

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“…the Raffles Hotel, with its stiff, bare garden, its palms from the Botanical Gardens, its Sikh porter and its Chinese “boys”. Its lemonade with a shaddock flavour is the best in Asia…”

Shaddock, by the way, is I think better known these days as pomelo (citrus maxima), and looks rather like a big grapefruit. I am now seeking one out to squeeze into some lemonade.

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Jacques Henri Lartigue’s Chinese Parasols

Posted: July 16th, 2015 | No Comments »

A few more Chinese parasols today (A common theme on this blog now and then as regular browsers will have observed, such as just this week on parasols in 1930s Bournemouth). As I’m on my holidays in France this week we’ll have the French photographer Jacques Henri Lartigue, who snapped the denizens of the French Riviera for years, starting in the early years of the century through to be about 1949. He was a man who loved his Chinese parasols – they feature repeatedly in his work. Here though some with really big, and very cool, parasols….

Jacques Henri Lartigue 1

Jacques Henri Lartigue 2

 

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Chinese Parasols in 1930s Bournemouth

Posted: July 13th, 2015 | No Comments »

I love the site www.flashbak.com – always something interesting there. Recently they uploaded a bunch of photos of the Tollard Hotel in Bournemouth. Now Bournemouth is lovely, but the weather often leaves a little something to be desired compared to, say, the South of France or the Italian Riviera.  The Tollard Hotel though came up with a rather good idea – a solarium and indoor beach. The hotel is now flats, so someone lives in the old solarium! All the photos of the amazing place, and the people who went there, are here

However, it’s been a while since we’ve had a Chinese parasol picture (though we’ve had loads before – at the Folies Bergere, Adele Astaire, Zelda Fitzgerald, Count Leopold von Sternberg, and some old French porn – so here’s some guests at the Tollard Solarium and indoor beach in 1930…

1930- Tea at the Tolland Royal Hotel’s Solarium And Indoor Beach, Bournemouth

31st March 1930:  A family relaxing together in the solarium of the Tolland Hotel, Bournemouth.  (Photo by Fox Photos/Getty Images)

31st March 1930: A family relaxing together in the solarium of the Tolland Hotel, Bournemouth. (Photo by Fox Photos/Getty Images)

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The Mysteries of Stolen Chinese Boxes, Versailles and Shantung – Robert Goddard’s The Corners of the Globe

Posted: July 12th, 2015 | No Comments »

Last year I blogged about the first book in Robert Goddard’s The Wide World trilogy, The Ways of the World, which begins with events at the Paris Peace Conference in 1919 – Those that like a little alternative history should enjoy the series as it partly resolves around the machinations over the Shantung Question at Versailles (which I’ve written about myself in Betrayal in Paris, part of the Penguin China World War One series).

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Anyway, in case you were wondering, the second in the series, The Corners of the Globe, continues the theme and plays out against the backdrop of the betrayal of the Chinese at Versailles and tells a credible alternative back story to the decisions over Shantung. The third, and final, book in the series, The Ends of the Earth, is just out and takes everyone to Japan to resolve issues. If you’re looking for some doorstop sized page turners for the summer holidays and fancy a bit of Buchan-like adventure then these might be your thing….

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George Elliston’s “Tea in Peking”, 1936

Posted: July 11th, 2015 | No Comments »

George Elliston (1883-1946) was a Kentucky born journalist who had a regular column syndicated across America that occasionally included a little of her own verse. Her poetry appeared in newspapers and magazines in the U.S. and was reproduced in anthologies in France, Germany, Great Britain and China. This poem – “Peking” – appeared in 1936….

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George Elliston

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Truly Criminal Anthology now Available in the US

Posted: July 10th, 2015 | No Comments »

Earlier this year I contributed a true story of a 1907 Shanghai murder to the UK Crime Writers’ Association anthology, Truly Criminal – it’s now available in the USA…So a quick re-cap….

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My contribution – A Murder in the Shanghai Trenches – is the true story of the 1907 murder of Eliza Shapera, a Jewish woman of dubious virtue, a prostitute, probably trafficked from Russia in the then notorious red light area of Scott Road in Hongkew, aka The Trenches. The murder was investigated by two veteran detectives of the Shanghai Municipal Police Detective-Sergeant Thomas Idwal Vaughn and Detective-Inspector John McDowell. Their investigation took them into the heart of The Trenches and the brothels of the area and their suspects included a mysterious Indian pimp, two Chinese house thieves and various Chinese and European prostitutes. It was a major cause celebre at the time and highlighted the dark underbelly of turn of the century Shanghai, a world of vice and crime that was to make the city notorious as it grew and festered throughout the first half of the twentieth century up to the Second World War. I’ve based my reinvestigation of the case on the newspaper articles and court documents of the time and, I think, that even after more than a century we can now see quite clearly who killed Eliza, and why they did it….

I’ve added some additional background on old Shanghai’s districts of sin and murder as well as an excerpt from the piece here on the Los Angeles Review of Books China blog and an interview on the case of Eliza Shapera and writing about old Shanghai on RTHK Radio 3 in Hong Kong…..

 

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