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Strolling along the Bund in the 1930s
By Michelle Qiao

This Bund series will let you stroll along the Bund as Ernest O. Hauser had suggested in his book "Shanghai: City for Sale" published in 1940, exploring each building from No. 1, the Asiatic Petroleum Building, to No. 33, the former British Consulate. And it will extend to the Waitanyuan region on Yuanmingyuan Road. Following is an excerpt from Hauser's book.

"You started on its southern end, where it met the Quai de France, and with slow gravity, the massive fronts filed past you. The Asiatic Petroleum Building, on the corner of Avenue Edward VII, led the parade. Next was the Shanghai Club, stodgy and imperial, housing the world's longest bar. There was the Japanese Nisshin Kisen Kaisha, the Commercial Bank of China and the China Merchants' Steam Navigation, both Chinese. Then, with its dignified facade and its colossal white dome, the Hongkong & Shanghai Banking Corporation, compact manifestation of power. Two massive bronze lions flanked the gate. Their paws and tails were shiny...

The "Hongkong Bank" almost touched with its left shoulder the tall Customs House which had lost, by now, all resemblance to the picturesque Chinese temple of bygone days. You saw the old-fashioned and serious-looking faces of the Bank of Communications and of the Central Bank of China, strangely contrasting with the smart marble front of the Japanese Bank of Formosa. Next came the narrow-chested "Old Lady of the Bund" North China Daily News, the taipan paper par excellence, and the British Chartered Bank, ranging in power and influence next to the dome-crowned "Hongkong Bank." And, on the corner of Nanking Road, you saw the homey-looking Palace Hotel.

You had arrived at Shanghai's most important intersection, the great caesura in the front line of the Bund, Nanking Road. You crossed the street, dodging a dozen rickshaws and one or two tram cars. Your eyes rose along the towering structure of the Sassoon House, Shanghai's tallest building, with its modernistic architecture, and with the large sign over the entrance which said Cathay Hotel. You walked around the building, looked into the windows of its elegant stores. Next was the old site of the German Club, which was the new site of T. V. Soong's Bank of China. After that, Japan's Yokohama Specie Bank, and Italy's Lloyd Triestino.

Here was the famous Ewo Building, housing the rugged old firm of Jardine, Matheson & Co, and also the shipping offices of the Canadian Pacific Steamship Company. Next were the Glen Line Building, the French Banque de I'lndochine, the Japanese N.Y.K. And on its old luxurious grounds, reaching all the way to the bank of Soochow Creek, there was the British Consulate."

Chronology of the Bund

1839-1842 First Opium War and the Bund was a mudflat.

1842 The Treaty of Nanking opened Shanghai to Western trade.

1845 First Land Regulations and the delimitation of the British concession.

1847 A British-style mini city mushroomed along the Bund. The earliest compradoric buildings were built for foreign trade companies.

1868 The Public Park on the Bund opened.

1873 The British Consulate was rebuilt which is the oldest building on the Bund today.

1911 The new Shanghai Club opened.

1923 The grand HSBC Building was completed.

1929 The tallest building on the Bund, the Sassoon House, in Art Deco style, opened.

1956 Workers covered the fresco with limestone powder to turn the former HSBC Building into the Shanghai Municipal Hall. The Bund buildings were used by municipal organizations.

1966 The British melody of the Customs House Clock switched to "The East Is Red," a popular song during the "cultural revolution" (1966-1976).

1986 Shanghai government started cleaning the dusty facades of the buildings to apply for National Cultural Relics status.

1991 The Bund lighting project was completed and the frequency of illuminating the Bund increased from only national holidays to every night.

1993 A renovation of the Bund was completed.

1994 Municipal organizations began moving from the Bund to make room for commercial enterprises.

2010 After a 33-month renovation, the Bund showed a new look before the World Expo 2010. A 5,000-pound "Shanghai Bull" was unveiled on the Bund; it was the same as the New York City Charging Bull of Wall Street.

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