Katya Knyazeva's scrapbook

Shanghai history and architecture

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Read my article on Vladimir Zhiganov on academia.edu.

Читать о шанхайской архитектуре по-русски (серия в Магазете).

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Meanwhile, in Paris (1941)
Cabaret Shanghaï.


#97 Shanghai Architecture Series: The French Park (in Russian)

In this article: the origin of the word 'Koukaza'; the results of joint efforts of P. Jousseaume and Yu Xiqi; the memory of Renè Vallon; the injection of Russian national restaurant culture into the French recreational culture; the children's railroad and the zoo; the cruel pastimes in the park during the Japanese occupation, and the 'revival' 复兴 into the Fuxing Park.

Image: Virtual Shanghai.

Claudette Colbert liked the Chinese City

'Claudette Colbert, star of several well-known productions, is now in Shanghai on a short visit. She is very much impressed with Shanghai, especially with the Chinese city, customs, and life.'
The China Press, 'Visitor from Filmdom,' 17 June 1930.

It would be funny if by customs she (or more likely, her agent) actually meant the customs check.

Yu Garden on film
It is always wonderful to see live footage of old Shanghai.

View of Yuyuan Garden in Shanghai, 1930s

I'm not 100% convinced this is Yuyuan, but so says the caption. There are many more amazing movie clips in the Moody Collection at USC.

'Then and then'
Sometimes I do 'then and now' photo comparisons, but these are more like 'then and then,' showing various locations in times before ours. All credits are in the image links.

1. The corner of Nanjing Road and Shanxi Road in 1945 and 1976. These buildings have since been torn down and modernized:

2. Shanghai Club in 1937 and in 1990:


3. Villas on Route Petain (Hengshan Road) around 1940 and around 1990:

4. Nanjing Road department stores in the 1930s and in the 1970s:

5. Xujiahui Cathedral in 1957 and in 1979:

6. The Great World in 1942 and in 1957:

Picture of the day: Xintiandi before the glamour

Image from 上海光影 1980-1999: 郭博攝影作品精選 = Time & space traces of Shanghai: selected artworks by photographer Guo Bo.

#96 Shanghai Architecture Series: the Central Arcade (in Russian)

Looking at Jack Birns' photos of Shanghai
The locations of some of Jack Birns' photographs of Shanghai in 1948–1949 are quite hard to identify, but this makes it all the more exciting to finally 'crack' them.

Click on any image to be taken to its address and a larger resolution.

1. The characteristic tower of Dadong (Dah Tung) Bookstore 大东书局, on the far left, made it possible to recognize this stretch of Fuzhou Road east of the crossing with Henan Road:

Dah Tung Bookstore:

The same location today looks nothing like the it did in the past, but the lot on the right somehow never gets built up:

Here Birns is looking at the same scene – which seems to be the anti-American riots of June 1948 – from the safety of the American Club on Fuzhou Road. People in the Central Police Station, on the top left, are also watching the crowd from the balcony:


2. It pays to zoom in and scan for texts and numbers. The sign for the Cosmopolitan Restaurant (aka De Da; 德大西菜社), in the row of buildings on the right, allowed to quickly identify the Central Arcade on Sichuan Road, just south of Nanjing Road:

Cosmopolitan Restaurant:

The Central Arcade has undergone a major revamp recently:

3. The southeastern corner of Avenue Edward VII (Yan'an Road) and Sichuan Road was once framed by beautiful old-fashioned buildings, where important English-language newspapers had their headquarters:

Another angle:

Sadly, today this corner looks nothing like it used to, because everything south of Yan'an Road, several buildings deep, was sawn off to make room for the highway:

4. This composition from a series on inflation titled 'Shanghai Payday' is set against the building very similar in style to the Sassoon House. In fact this is the former Mitsui Bank on Jiujiang Road, used as the Bank of Shanghai during Burns' time:

Shanghai Bank 上海市银行 is faintly spelled on the vertical panel next to the door:

Not much change here:

5. Moving on to the French Concession (already 'former' at the time Birns was in Shanghai). This art-deco building is easy to recognize: this is the Empire Mansions, on Huaihai Road, close to Changshu Road.

A similar angle today. No more plane trees, sadly:

I recalled another photo with similar architectural detail in the top right corner. Indeed, the boarded up Yong Loong 永隆 store was in the same building:

6. This picture, thankfully, has a street sign in the frame – Ling Sen Road (which is Huaihai Road) – and the name of the business on the cross-street. This fenced off green corner belongs to Xiangyang Park:


Are these the same plane trees, I wonder?

7. This section of Avenue Joffre (Huaihai Road) did not get photographed much back in the day, so we're lucky Birns was interested in capturing his journalist friend standing in the street, between today's Shaanxi Road and Maoming Road:

Most of these spike-topped shop fronts have been removed, but a portion still remains:

8. Birns took several shots of this poor mother hobbling on her small feet from ricksha to ricksha. While the captured passenger appears to be rummaging in her purse for a coin, others are just turning away from the camera. The location of this road – or rather, this bridge, judging by the ricksha puller's efforts – evaded me for a while, but then I found it: this is the southern slope of Henan Road Bridge:

The bridge has gotten much wider:

This vibrant black market was on Avenue Edward VII (today's Yan'an Road). The one-of-a-kind tower of the Great World in the distance, and the Da Hu Hotel on the left were helpful in placing this image on the map:

The hotel is still a hotel (and the Great World is still there), but everything else has changed:

Another vanished corner of Avenue Edward and Tibet Road, just south of the Racecourse:

Nothing left there today:

Over 1,400 historic photos of Shanghai mapped on PastVu

Mappin' the web since 2013. Image from the University of Bristol.

Among the most recent additions there are:
- the location of the title image;
- all the angles I could find of the Central Arcade (1929) on Nanjing Road;
- the disappeared corner of Tibet Road and Avenue Edward VII;
- the similarly vanished corner of Tibet Road and Nanking Road;
- Avenue Joffre near the French Club;
- various stretches of central Sichuan Road;
- various images of the Palace Hotel;
- all the images of Poste de Police Foch that I could find;
- several views of St. John's University;
- views over Yu Yuen Road from the West Park Mansions near Jessfield Park;
- a corner of Rue du Consulat and Tibet Road;
- an unusual angle on the Racecourse;
- an amazing colorized view of the Russian Cathedral at the early stages of construction;
- and many others...

Link to the map

See the map.

Google has begun to show some results from PastVu, and I hope it improves in the future.

Foreign 'Shanghai hands' featured in a Wechat article


其实在上海做老上海题材研究和带看的外国人不少的,我们报道过的路透社记者迈克尔·兰克2015年重访上海的时候见过一个自由撰稿人katya knyazeva,精通英语俄语和汉语,同时也是一个专家级别带看导游。

katya knyazeva=张霞




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