The Hostilities in Shanghai in 1932

Photographs of the Hostilities in Shanghai in 1932 is an album that belonged to a young British family in Shanghai showing a life of yachting on the Huangpu, horse races at the Shanghai Racecourse and the “annual hunt”, as well as rare glimpses of life in the rice paddies and villages on the outskirts of old Shanghai. Over half the photos deal with the Japanese attack on Shanghai in the Winter of 1932. They show the barricades and defences erected to protect the International Settlement from a Japanese attack that never eventuated and the destruction wrought north of the concession.

The album consists of 24 black leaves. The original cover is missing, replaced by a wrapping paper cover with a white label with the title “Photographs of the Hostilities in Shanghai in 1932”. The are 254 photographs mostly held in place by black photograph corners, which enabled the photographs to be easily removed, scanned and replaced. Eight photographs are glued to one of the leaves and three are loose. About thirty photographs are missing judging from the empty photograph corners.

The photographs are numbered in the order in which they appear in the album. They are generally grouped in the album according to topic and are not in chronological order, suggesting the photographs were grouped and placed in the album after the events – which often happens. For example, events of December 1932, the Shanghai Municipal Council Route March and the Christmas hunt (img049-060), appear early in the album before the photographs associated with the Japanese attack in late January to early March 1932 (img120-168 & 173-212, 214, 216-218, 222-233 & 243-246).

For convenience, I have named the English couple Winston and Prudence; and their daughter is Primrose.

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