SHANGHAI 1850 1950
by Tess Johnston
Thursday, 25 April 2002
2/F Sports House, So Kon Po, Causeway Bay
Cash Bar 6.30pm, Lecture 7.30pm Shanghai, China's most vibrant city, is also its most unusual with its extraordinary history of foreign concessions and immigration from every part of China and the world, it is unique in China. An ideal port, Shanghai is the gateway to the mighty Yangtze River. But when the British opened their first concession there in 1842, after the first Opium War, it was little more than a small town supported by fishing and weaving. Change was rapid the French arrived in 1847 and it wasn't long before an International Settlement was established. By the time the Japanese arrived in 1895, the city had been parcelled up into settlements, all autonomous and immune from Chinese law. By the 1930s, the world's greatest houses of finance and commerce had set up in Shanghai, a major finance and export centre. The city had the tallest buildings in Asia, and more motor vehicles on its streets than the rest of China put together, but also countless opium dens and gambling joints. Guarding it all were the Royal Navy, together with American, French and Italian marines and Japanese bluejackets. Tess Johnston's lecture is a 100year tour through the history of Old Shanghai. She illustrates the progress and regress of the city and illustrates its unique makeup and development, including the succeeding waves of migrants Chinese from every part of China, Europeans, Russian Jews, the Japanese, and finally the Communists. With less and less of Old Shanghai remaining, Ms. Johnston takes audiences through the extraordinary villas of the French concession, to the British banks and clubs, and to the quarters of the other numerous waives of immigrants. Tess Johnston is the bestknown historian of Shanghai. She and her partner, photographer Deke Efh, have published seven books on China, including A Last Look, on Shanghai, and The Last Colonies, on the six southern treaty ports. Ms. Johnston has been resident in Asia for some 20 years, 15 of these in Shanghai, where she originally came to work at the American Consulate General in 1981. Ms. Johnston has lectured worldwide, including to other Royal societies, and acts as a consultant to numerous organisations on Shanghai. She also possesses a unique and extensive library of old books and historical documents relating to Shanghai. Each Member may bring 2 guests. Tickets for this lecture may be prebooked by completing and returning the attached form. Otherwise, members and their guests are welcome to attend on a firstcome firstserved basis. The cost of this lecture is HK$50 for Members, HK$100 for Member's guests and HK$150 for others. Members are reminded to renew their memberships to take advantage of Members' rates.