Originally known as Fifth Road 五马路 – being the fifth to the south from the International Settlement's main artery Nanking Road – Canton Road has never been widened, which is quite unique for such a long and central street. While the great commercial buildings at the eastern (Bund-side) end of the street are not in danger, the low-rise lane houses and storefronts in the western part of the street are condemned. This is infuriating, because such a street should be cherished. Guangdong Road still retains much of its commercial vibrancy, architectural variety and walkability. Once the location of city-famous teahouse theatres and antique and curio markets, it now houses quaint old-fashioned eateries, antique stores and a market for hairdressing supplies – though, evidently not for long.
Here is a trip back in time, walking east to west, from the river to the Racecourse (People's Square 人民广场). Click on any image to be taken to its description, location and provenance.
Starting from the Bund – Union Building, at No. 17, in the 1980s:
The nearest neighbor, also on the south side of the street – the Robert Dollar Building – in 1922:
Intersection with Szechuen (Sichuan) Road 四川中路, looking southwest, at the China Mutual Insurance Building;
[More historic photos...]
Mitsubishi Building, diagonally opposite, on the northeast corner:
Szechuen Road 四川中路, near Canton Road, in 1949 (the movie poster is affixed to the China Mutual Insurance Building):
Going further west on Canton Road – Rose, Downs & Thompson store, on the north side the street, in 1925:
The picturesque intersection of Canton Road with Honan (Henan) Road 河南中路, lined with teahouses and clothing stores, was photographed many times over the years. Here we are, looking north, in the 1900s...
...in the 1910:
...and in the 1920s; the same Cui Long Clothing store on the left, and Tong Fang Teahouse on the right:
Having cross Henan Road we continue to move west along Guangdong Road 广东路. Here is a jump back in time to 1905 – a brothel servant carrying a courtesan from one of the mulitple brothels on this block, which was then known as Baoshan Street / 宝善街:
Vie past the intersection with Shandong Road 山东中路, in the 1920s:
Still further west – clothing stores at the intersection with Fokien (Fujian) Road 福建中路, in 1940:
Northeast corner of the intersection – the branch office of the venerable Wang Yu Tai teahouse:
Yet further west – the intersection with Hubei Road 湖北路, looking north, in the 1930s:
Same intersection, looking southwest:
Next block to the west – the intersection with Chekiang (Zhejiang) Road 浙江中路, in 1940; Yuen Feng incense and candle store:
Next block – intersection with Kwangse (Guangxi) Road 广西北路, view southeast; Tong Fu rice store:
SMC Polytechnic Public School, with its back to Canton Road:
Finally – the western end of Guangdong Road, in 1957, looking at the former Grand Hotel, later Workers' Culture Palace:
A similar angle across Tibet Road 西藏中路, in 1967: Guangdong Road 广东路 on the left and Beihai Road 北海路 on the right.
See all historic photos of Guangdong Road 广东路 on PastVu. Follow Mapping Historic Shanghai on Facebook.