June 5th, 2020

German footage of Shanghai in 1932–1940

It is purely by chance that I came across this fabulous reel at the AKH archive, and I extracted the Shanghai sections.

1. Arriving in Shanghai on a passenger ship, in 1932. The famous skyline gradually floats into the view as we pass the Garden Bridge and pan across the row of the Bund buildings. To the right of the Cathay Hotel there is the Club Concordia, not demolished yet. Later, the operator stands at the entrance of the Palace Hotel and films the busy Nanking Road. He moves up to "Shanghai's busiest corner," where Szechuen Road intersects Nanking Road, and shows the vigorous street action against the facade of the Whiteway, Laidlaw & Co. store. We end up looking at the Siemens China premises, on Kiangse Road.


2. The Bund in 1936, lots of views of the very busy Nanking Road and vistas of Soochow Creek from the Garden Bridge. The clip ends at the new Siemens headquarters, in the Laou Kai Fook building, at the intersection with Henan Road.


3. Social events in the German Consulate in 1934–1935. That place, looking out across the Whangpoo to the Public Gardens and the Bund, is no more:


4. A real treat! A walk down Yu Yuen Road in 1936. Mom and dad seem to be passing the camera back and forth to film each other. There is a bit of a montage to show that we returned to the same neighborhood where we started.


5. And lastly, a vertiginous ride on a double-decker bus along Bubbling Well Road, from the Paramount Ballroom to the Racecourse, in 1940. Watch out for this left-side traffic! The street is low-rise at first, but as we get closer to the downtown, more shops come into the view. We pass W. Füterer and Café Federal in the Bubbling Well Apartments (intersection with Seymour Road), approach the China Garage (no longer there), pass the Medhurst, Majestic and Ascot Apartments and finally see the Race Club in the distance.


Footage: AKH.