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Katya Knyazeva's scrapbook

Shanghai history and architecture


Quick links
My book Shanghai Old Town. The Walled City

See all entries on Shanghai Russians

See all entries on the old town

See old photos of Shanghai on PastVu

See all topics or use the Search box on the top right.

Read my article on Vladimir Zhiganov on academia.edu.

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

"Spies are caught in Shanghai": Wujin Road in two images 85 years apart
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Top image: Spaarnestad; bottom image: Baidu.

In 1932 Lane 502 Wujin Road 武进路502弄, in the northern district of Shanghai, served as a backdrop for a dramatic arrest. Thanks go out to 随意-sy for his help with identifying locations. Click on each image to be taken to its location – back in time and today.



A fantastic aerial photo of downtown Shanghai (1937)
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Click the image to see it huge! Source: Spaarnestad.


I tried to place selective captions right under the buildings, choosing only those that looked distinguished from the surrounding urban fabric. It is a very entertaining way to look at the city!


An understated masterpiece from 1930: I.S.S. (Normandie) Annex and Garage
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This architectural drawing shows the proposed Annex to the I.S.S. Apartments and the innovative two-story garage with a ramp, by Lèdreaux & Minutti Architects & Engineers. The buildings were constructed in 1930. The image omits the "mother ship" I.S.S. Apartments (aka the Normandie), which would be on the left, and the villas on the right:


If the architects saw the Annex today, would they be upset by the contrasting paint on the dentils on top of the building? And with the glazing of the balconies?

Top image: Realty Market 上海地产月刊 Apr 1930. Bottom: baidu. Click to be taken to the location.

The beauty of the art deco garage is most apparent when you stand on its roof or look at it from the interior windows of the Annex building:



Aerial map of Shanghai (1929)
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This aerial map of Shanghai was published in a 1929 issue of Realty Market magazine (上海地产月刊). The magazine is very interesting, and I might post more images from it; some of them I've never seen before.




#132 Shanghai Architecture Series in Russian: Zhang Garden 张园 aka Chang Su Ho Garden (1885)
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This article was written for the architecture series in Magazeta: https://magazeta.com/2019/06/arc-zhang-garden/
English translation might follow soon.




Heritage Day-2019 is near
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This year's open-door day for one hundred architectural landmarks in Shanghai will take place Saturday, June 8: http://whlyj.sh.gov.cn/node2/n2029/n2030/n2151/u1ai158511.html I don't see any special highlights, though. Cloister Apartments, 62 West Fuxing Road, is open by appontment.


Russian storefronts in the 1940s Shanghai
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Here is a large selection of Shanghai storefronts in the second half of the 1940s, collected at the Coca Cola Archives by the great :


Ideal Haberdashery, owned by the Vitenson family, located at 835 Avenue Joffre (by then renamed Linsen Avenue), right next to the entrance to the Russian-populated lane compound Linda Terrace. The sign shows the store's Chinese name too: 爱地也耳. The Coca-Cola photographers were, of course, more interested in the Tai San Co. Provision Store 太山食品公司, which sold their drink.


Berlin Candy Store 西焦糖果, at 255 Avenue Joffre, close to Rue Baron Gros. Not necessarily Russian-owned. On the left is 裕兴西服号 clothing store; on the right is Great Eastern Candy Store 大东面包公司, likely Russian.


Podkova ("Horseshoe") Foreign Food Store 王老五, with a cozy subtitle "George & Baby Ruth Place," at 356 Avenue du Roi Albert. This little row of stores has survived.


[See the rest of them...]

A few doors to the north, Restaurant Kong Loh at 346A Avenue du Roi Albert is offering "delicious and nutritious Russian lunches and dinners, consisting of two or three courses.


Little kiosk at the opening of Lane No. 1003 on Avenue Joffre. Inside this block many poor Russian Gypsies lived and called this place Nahalovka ("Squats"); you can see the interior of the lane a little bit. This whole block has been redeveloped.


On the same block, here is the Restaurant Constantinople at 1011 Avenue Joffre. A sign for a Russian jewelry store is pointing into the alley, on the left.


Northeastern corner of Avenue Joffre and Avenue du Roi Albert. This is where a whole series of photographs was taken by Harrison Forman in 1937.


E.B.C. Coffee Company 巴西咖啡公司 at 476 Avenue Joffre is in the center. Stores left to right: Wai Sing Co. 惠新 Separtment Store; Your Charm 源昌 Woollen Yarn Co. store; to the right of E.B.C. Coffee is La España Manila Hat Store 小吕宋帽铺; further right is Man Kan Kee 万金记 hardware merchant. This block survives.


Incredibly, the newspaper stand opposite my favorite Normandie Apartments, on Route Ferguson, is still there. The thatch fence is seen blocking off one of the courtyards; now there is a metal fence there. What is the person in front, under the umbrella, selling (or mending?)


Kiev Cafe, Restaurant & Confectionery 凯福食店, at 878 North Szechuen Road. The building has not survived.


The southeast corner of Rue Mercier and Route Vallon. A touching Russian rendition of Chinese characters "Тун-Тю-Хо Бокалейная Торговля и Зеленб"; the spelling betrays a Chinese owner. Many Russians lived on this block and in the apartments seen on the right.


This is the same corner, but looking in the opposite direction, toward north, along the wall of the Astrid Apartments. There is no Russian signage here, but there is a Russian lady crossing Route Vallon. Same view today: link.


Another Chinese food store advertising for the Russians (Гастрономическая торговля Хо Фа Хин 合发行) at 201 Route Vallon.


Boole & Co. 福利 at No. 876, J. Wekselman's Provision Store at No. 874 and DD's Cafe Restaurant at No. 870, in the ground floor of Majestic Apartments on Bubbling Well Road.


Russian restaurant called Asia 亚洲西菜社, offering "dishes by a famous chef," tea and coffee, at 34 Rue Massenet. That stretch of the street is still there.


An excellent example of dense multilingual signage at the southeast corner of Route Voyron and Route Marcel Tillot. Pao Loong Provisions Store and "Бакалейная торговля", with additional "Meat trade" (Мясная торговля) written vertically on both sides of the door. To the right of it is another food store. To the left is Selane Restaurant 西泠 offering 美味点心. This corner looks like this now.




Flood on the Bund; boats everywhere
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Irene's American Studio of Dancing (1931)
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This interior is quite a statement! I love the ceiling height.




Hurt feelings are nothing new
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It is not so easy to unravel this sequence of misunderstandings, cause by a dated picture and some potentially offensive wording in Shanghai school textbooks:


Source: The China Press, March 1933.