December 26th, 2019


Over 3,100 historic images of Shanghai mapped on PastVu

Damaged front doors of the Soviet Consulate after the anti-Red protests of November 7, 1927.

Highlights of this project appear on the Facebook page Mapping Old Shanghai. Among the latest 100 additions to the PastVu gallery there are:

[See the selection...]
Entertainment club Villa Les Glycines, on Route Mercier, now part of a public school on the corner of Nanchang and Maoming Roads:

Antique rendition of the French attack on the Chinese walled city during the final push to expel the Small Swords, in January 1855:

Fashion icon Eleonora Garnett, next to her new car, in 1929:

Empty buses rented out as dwellings to European Jews by opportunistic Russian Jews, in 1939:

Detailed coverage of the opening of the New Ohel Moshe Synagogue, on South Xiangyang Road (read about it: RU, ENG):

Portuguese community's dance party at the Majestic Hotel, in 1927:

Swimmers at the Columbia Country Club:

Members of the Russian sports society Sokol doing human pyramide outside their headquarters on Rue Massenet (now Sinan Road), in 1931:

Funeral of the General Samoyloff at the Bubbling Well Cemetery, in 1927:

Other "new" old photographs can be found in the PastVu gallery.

Link to the map

You can use various base maps: Mapnik street map, Google Scheme, Google Satellite or Yandex Satellite (sometimes sharper than Google).

To switch between architectural drawings and photographs, alternate between the photocamera and the landscape icons. To open each image in a new window click the icon with the outgoing arrow, to the right of the landscape icon:


Mad Max meets Mad Designer and together they go to Cousin Welder

The predatory heritage goblins have devoured yet another piece of historic Shanghai. The former St. Nicholas Church has become a bookstore – and it could easily win the title of the ugliest anywhere in China. You could run the interview with the architect through Google Translate to better understand the sick "poetry behind the design," but I don't recommend that. They claim the metal cage takes the load off the building and spares the walls from having metal rods for bookshelves drilled into it – ah-hah, right.

The incongruous ahistorical moldings from the 1990s restaurant have been lovingly recast and reinstalled:

For comparison – this is what it should have been:

Wedding of Tamara Osipoff and Vladimir Shevchenko in 1941

The metal cage, inspired by the prison aesthetic now entombs the interior vault – how apt for China's zeitgeist, indeed:

Evidently, a bookstore in a heritage building is not a guarantee of its cultural revival and not a vaccine against vandalism. The Russian community activists and diplomats confirmed that they approached the responsible party with offers of expertise and finance for the restoration – and were repeatedly turned down.