Katya Knyazeva's scrapbook

Shanghai history and architecture

#95 Shanghai Architecture Series: St. John's University (in Russian)

Over 1,300 historic photos of Shanghai mapped on PastVu
Link to the map

See the map.

Among the recent additions:
- the Summer Palace Restaurant on the corner of Fuzhou and Tibet Roads that served 'Hygienic Chinese Food' in the 1940s;
- several billboards captured by Jack Birns in 1948 for his advertisement-focused series;
- two beautiful architectural drawings (1, 2) of an office building that was built in 1908 on Sichuan Road;
- some iconic views of downtown streets from the Croiseur Lamotte collection;
- a stretch of Henan Road that took me some time to identify;
- a picturesque stretch of Shanse Road;
- a stretch of Sichuan Road in the business center and several angles on Hwa Tai Exchange;
- the border of the Chinese territory and the French Concession;
- more auto service stations: Reliance Motors, Moody Inc., Shell gas station, Standard Vacuum Oil;
- a couple of views of Rue du Consulat, to complement my long blog post and a Russian-language article;
- several views of the International Dispensary on Henan Road;
- Hongkou Fire Station;
- Carlowitz & Co. godown on the bank of Suzhou Creek and their central office on Jiujiang Road;
- several views of Route Petain;
- the Ambassador Cafe;
- the Palais next to Bloody Alley;
- Plaza Hotel on the corner of East Jinling and Sichuan Road, following a lively discussion on Facebook;
- the lovely old building of the Shanghai-Nanking Railway Administration tucked inside the block off the Bund;
- several views of the Mitsubishi Building;
- China Import & Export Lumber Co. on Jiangxi Road;
- a couple of views of the modernist Pudong Guildhall that, unfortunately, perished in the construction of the elevated Yan'an Road;

and many others...

Views from the West Park Mansions
This series of views in the Malcolm Rosholt collection at HPC is taken from a high floor in the West Park Mansions 西园公寓, an apartment house near Jessfield Park (now Zhongshan Park 中山公园). The address is 1396 Yuyuan Road (愚园路1396号):

1. These two villas with front lawns are in the northeastern direction from the West Park Mansions; they no longer stand. Jessfield Road (Changning Road 长宁路) is seen behind them, left side of the shot:

2. The camera is now looking to the right of the two villas. Three rows of lane houses with pitched roofs (center right) are still there, as well as the mansions closer the camera (lower right corner):

3. Looking still further right. Yuyuan Road is runinng along the right edge of the shot, where the chimneys are. The villas on the north side still stand:

4. Looking at the south side of Yuyuan Road that is running diagonally at the bottom of the image, lined with trees. Most of the buildings are still there today:

If the camera continued to turn right, it would have captured the Gardenia Cabaret on Yuyuan Road, but alas! Rosholt probably did not want to aim the camera toward south, to avoid the sun glare.

#94 Shanghai Architecture Series: French Police Residences (in Russian)

Source: Virtual Shanghai.

Over a hundred photos of Shanghai in 1976
I don't know how you stumble on a Flickr album like this – none of the photos have captions or descriptions – but the formidable 随意-sy found it and posted on Weibo.

The Garden Bridge and the Soviet Consulate:

This and other images are from the Flickr photostream Editors CJ.

A green mailbox and a trash can at the corner of East Nanjing Road and the Bund, with the Palace Hotel to the left and the Peace-Cathay at the back:

Walking along Nanjing Road, starting from the Palace Hotel:

Nanjing Road, looking east:

The Folk Instruments Factory at 114 Nanjing Road (incredibly, still at this address):

Reached the crossing with Tibet Road; the former Da Sun Department Store on the right:

Shanghai Concert Hall, former Nanking Theatre:

And so on – highly recommended! Full album on Flickr.

Signs can be deceptive
This photo from the Malcolm Rosholt collection at HPC does not make sense, until you flip it. This is Avenue Joffre, near the intersection of Avenue du Roi Albert; the Weida Hotel is in the frame, but the Cathay Mansions and the Grosvenor House appear to have switched places:

It is logical that the hotel sign should be facing downtown, so it should appear mirror-reversed from the vantage point of the photographer, like below:

Her name was Jessie

On the origins of Jessfield Road and Love Lane, from an article in The China Press (1933):

Most everyone has been to Jessfield Park. Why is the road connecting it with Bubbling Well Road known as Jessfield Road? Right here is the romance for you. Dr. Hawks Pott, president of St. John's University, wrote in his 'Short History of Shanghai' concerning the naming of Jessfield Road.

The origin of the name Jessfield recalls a romantic story of the early days. A Portuguese gentleman while passing a circus tent erected in Hongkew, heard the cries of a small girl who was being ill-treated. He purchased her freedom from the circus company and sent her, in care of a missionary, to the United States for education. Upon her return he married her, and as her name was Jessie, he called his country place, now the site of St. John's University, Jessfield. The road connecting it with Bubbling Well Road thus became Jessfield Road.

Do you know where in Shanghai Love Lane is? Now it is just a short avenue between Bubbling Well and Yates Roads, but in the early days it was a lovers' walk. There used to be a narrow creek there, with branches of old trees drooping above, making the place an ideal walk for young lovers on sunny afternoons or moonlight nights.

Photo: Entrance to Love Lane in 1903, by Satow.

A Baptist chapel in the old town (1886)
'Yesterday in the Chinese City near the west gate, there took a place an interesting Christian ceremony which it may be pleasing to many of your readers to hear of.'

This slightly convoluted sentence begins an article in the NCDN, in September 1886, that describes the dedication of a new Baptist chapel in the old town (probably, the Seventh Day variety). The local resident Wong S. S. initiated the founding of this church and saw it to its completion using his own money ($600), public donations and foreign funds.

'The building with its front high wall and heavy black doors is purely Chinese. It is fourteen feet wide. Passing the gate and the courtyard you enter the chapel, which is 14 X 20. The room is divided into two, with moveable doors as partitions, the front for preaching and the rear for instruction of catechumen. The pulpit, the benches, the guest chairs, the melodeon are all neat and appropriate. In the front wall on the outside are the Chinese characters "The Baptist Church. The Preaching Hall" and on the inside, which is artistically ornamented, are "Love men as thyself." There are three outside rooms for the evangelist. The whole is a gem.'

The concluding paragraph describes the 150-strong crowd at the opening ceremony; not everyone was able to get in. Ten foreign priests also attended. What is this chapel and where exactly was it? Plenty is know about the foreign-run chapels of the American and English missions, this one needs additional investigation.

On the origins of 沪

From The Chinese Miscellany (1860).

The not-so-peaceful view of the French Concession
One of the best Flickr accounts with images of old Shanghai – Cities in Old Days – uploaded a new image after a break of almost two years, depicting the skyline of the west and central French Concession:

Source: Cities in Old Days.

The row of 'ziggurats' in the medium foreground are the lane houses at 1412 Avenue Joffre 淮海中路1412弄. They are still standing, but the traditional Chinese residence (or temple) to the east of them, with a fanciful gate peeking just below, was, unfortunately, replaced with an apartment house in the 1980s:

The residence next to it, in the main shot's foreground, still stands inside the lane:

The camera was positioned on a high floor (possibly, the penthouse) of the Magy Apartments 麦琪公寓, at the corner of Route Boissezon (West Fuxing Road 复兴西路) and Route Magy (Middle Wulumuqi Road 乌鲁木齐中路). It's a beautiful view! Here are the Savoy Apartments 瑞华公寓, on Route de Say Zoong (today's Changshu Road 常熟路):

A little to the right is the wide wingspan of the Empire Mansions 帝国公寓, hugging the corner of Route de Say Zoong and Avenue Joffre (Huaihai Road 淮海中路):

In the distance we can see the Cathay Mansions 华懋公寓 and the Grosvenor House 峻岭公寓, basking in the afternoon light:

But what is it to their left? Their exact duplicates? Their ghosts? With brightly lit windows, and slightly tilted?

Turns out, this photograph has two shots in one; it is an accidental double exposure. The 'ghosts' are slightly smaller than their counterparts, so the overlapping shot must have been taken from a different vantage point, a little further away to the southeast. And the light conditions are different: the windows of the two apartment houses are brightly lit, so it must have been taken later that evening.

There are other traces of the night time shot scattered through the main image. In the lower left corner there are bright windows and balconies of a lane house supreimposed against the scattering of Chinese courtyard residences near Route Maresca:

Why take two pictures of the same vista, presumably, on the same evening? Perhaps, to capture the billowing smoke that is seen rising from the east (right side) and blowing toward the west, enveloping the French Concession. The smoke could be from the bombing of the Great World on the afternoon of 14 August 1937, or the bombardment of Chapei (Zhabei 闸北) on 26 October, or other urban battles that took place in Shanghai during the Sino-Japanese War. You can just imagine the photographer running up to the window of the Magy Apartments upon hearing the explosions and snapping that image, then going to a friend's place on the same evening and taking some more shots with the same camera, allowing one of the exposures to accidentally overlap with the previous.

Who is the photographer? As I am awaiting a reply from Mr. Cities in Old Days, I checked the Hongs. In 1937, Shanghai's most famous French architects and their spouses were registered as residents of the top floors of the Magy: Paul Veysseyre in No. 8 and Alexandre Leonard in No. 9. Can it be that one of them is behind the camera? That would be fantastic!

Here is another angle of the burning of Zhabei, by Karl Kengelbacher, taken from the Medhurst Apartments downtown:

Source: Virtual Shanghai.



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