Katya Knyazeva (avezink) wrote,
Katya Knyazeva

Messageries Maritimes: Oldest building being demolished (1937)


One of the oldest buildings in Shanghai, the office of the French shipping company Messageries Maritimes, was placed in the hands of wreckers yesterday and will soon be effaced from its time-honoured position on the French Bund. Built in 1863, it has withstood the passage of time as few other buildings of that early day, and has served its owners in many capacities. In its place will be erected a handsome modern building of thirteen or fourteen stories which will loom over all other structures in that vicinity of the city. The offices of Messageries Maritimes will temporarily be at 9 Avenue Edward VII in the Inter-Savin Building.

The North-China Daily News, 2 March 1937.

Another view of this mammoth:

Image: The Diamond Jubilee of the International Settlement of Shanghai (1938).

Here is the Bund with the oldest building still in place (second from the left). In fact, both buildings on the left of the photo had to be torn down, both belonging to the MM company. Further left from them, out of frame, is the French Consulate:

Image: Historical Photographs of China.

So the demolition began.

[See more pictures...]

Here is a shot from the back, taken in 1937, with the southern building being demolished, and the oldest building still standing. The back of the French Consulate is on the right:

Image: Virtual Shanghai

Here is another angle on this stage, taken from the Gutzlaff tower in 1937:

Image: Harrison Forman, UWM.

Here is the new Messageries Maritimes under construction, behind the ship:

Image: http://croiseur-lamotte-picquet.fr/

Sketch of the new building by Minutti & Co:

Image: Denison & Ren, Building Shanghai.

The finished building:

Image: The Diamond Jubilee of the International Settlement of Shanghai (1938).

The resulting skyline:

Image: flickr Cities in Old Days

This is now, perhaps, the only large historic building in Shanghai that is completely indistinguishable from something built in the 2000s, seamlessly bridging the gap between "modern" and modern:

Image: flickr Geoff-inOz/China.

Bonus: here is the MM advertisement page from the Diamond Jubilee of the International Settlement of Shanghai (1938) – click to enlarge:

Tags: 1860s, 1930s, 1937, 19th century, bund, demolition, messageries maritimes, ncdn, newspaper, shanghai

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