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TitleForeign-administered Parks in Shanghai: Visual and Spatial Representations of New Forms of Public Open Spaces
AuthorDorothée Rihal
DateFebruary 2009

This paper proposes a spatial analysis of the policies and uses of parks in the French Concession and the International Settlements in Shanghai. Before 1949 various forms of public open space emerged in the city such as gardens, parks and recreation grounds. A close look at the characteristics of foreign-administered parks both highlights the differences between Western and Chinese concepts, and offers an entry into the debate about modernity. As Shi Mingzheng has shown, “the concept of Public Park, where common people can go for relaxation and recreation, is purely Western and modern3”. MacGregor held his position until 1929 when W.J. Kerr was recruited. During his 24-year tenure he left a deep mark on park policy. MacGregor was very much influenced by contemporary park theory: nature as a stimulus for the soul, recreation as an antidote to urban environments5.

As for the French Concession, the municipal council created a position of “gardener” to oversee its parks and gardens only in 19097.

The two administrations, and especially the Superintendents of Parks and Open Spaces or the Head Gardeners, were very proud of their contribution to the “history of Shanghai parks” and went as far as describing each new stage of development under their supervision as “a new era9.”

The opening of public parks in the settlements

The map “Public Parks in the French Concession and the International Settlement” is both the basis for the next argument and the result of the research concerning park policy in Shanghai Settlements. The creation of parks in Shanghai followed the evolution in Europe in a certain extend by reproducing the same models, with differences between French and Anglo-Saxon references. Examining the opening of public parks in the settlements shows also the role of local context, like the form and the extension of the foreign territories or the growth of the population.

The Park movement began in the 1830s in Europe and later spread to the United States. At the turn of the century, public parks developed in Europe and in the United States. The first parks in Europe gave priority to the natural landscape. Following this model, the early parks in Shanghai also emphasized this aspect11, the Public Garden (Waitan gongyuan 外滩公園, Gonggong huayuan 公共花園, Waiguo huayuan 外國花園) (Image; Image) is perhaps the best example of this. It was opened by the Shanghai Municipal Council on the Bund, at the confluence of the Soochow Creek and the Huangpu River. The garden attracted numbers of visitors and was the most popular resort in Shanghai for a long time. It also figures prominently in Western city guides. It was completed by a Reserve garden that opened nearby in 1910.

Around the beginning of the 20th century, playgrounds, outdoor gymnasiums and other sports facilities were created within European and American Parks13. The land would be used as a public recreation ground. At the beginning of the 20th century, the lease was renewed and, the Race Club and Grand Stand, on the Western side of the ground, were demolished to make room for new constructions. Inside the ground several clubs were opened for bowling, cricket, golf, racing or swimming. The Recreation Club also moved there.

Hongkew Park (Hongkou yulechang 虹口娛樂場, Hongkou gongyuan虹口公園) (Image; Image), the largest of the municipal parks, was created in 1909 in the external roads area, north of Shanghai. It was designed to be a Park as well as a Recreation Ground. As soon as it opened, the large number of visitors who frequented it clearly indicated an appreciation of and desire for additional recreation and breathing space on the part of the public. This desire was freely enunciated by a number of residents in the Eastern district in the press and by direct appeal15”.

With the extension of the International Settlement in 1863 and 1899 and the accompanying increase of population, there was a growing need for vicinity parks, especially for the use of children. In 1898, a Hongkew Park was created in the Northen district. Its name was changed to Quinsan Square (Kunshan guangchang ertong gongyuan 崑山廣場兒童公園,Kunshan ertong youxichang 崑山兒童游戏场) (Image) after the creation of the larger Hongkew Park in 1909. At the time of its establishment, the square was in a quiet residential district, a most suitable playground for children17 and to open a large playground for children (36, 608 mu). It was named Wayside Park (Huishan gongyuan匯山公園) and it opened officially on 30 June 191119. In 1909, in view of the growing need for open spaces, the Park committee proposed to open new parks in the Western district. For financial reasons, and because the majority of houses in this district had private gardens, the SMC refused21.

In 1914, however, the Shanghai Municipal Council purchased a large piece of land in the external roads area and opened the Jessfield Park (Jisifei’er gongyuan 積司非爾公園, Zhaofeng gongyuan 兆丰公園). Much larger than any of the previous parks, it was composed of several sections:

“The purchase of a portion of the Unkaza estate as the nucleus of a decorative park and botanic garden will be recognised as marking a most important step in the history of Parks in Shanghai. The year 1914 marks the development from the provision of playing grounds, decorative or otherwise, to the embellishment of an area with all the essential features which distinguish a park in the correct sense23”. There were serpentine paths and potential vistas. Unlike the Public Gardens, Jessfield Park was designed on the principle of undulating and curving contours. It aimed to be a decorative park as well as a botanical garden and represented the height of the establishment of large scale planned public parks by the Shanghai Municipal Council. The opening of Jessfield Park ended the period of large expansion of open space by the International Settlement (1909-1914). Thereafter the focus moved to vicinity parks. Smaller parks were created and efforts were made to improve the layout and the equipments.

The policy of creating neighbourhood parks led the SMC to open two children parks in 1917, Studley Park24 (Zhoushan gongyuan舟山公園, Sitadeli gongyuan斯塔德利公園), in the Eastern district and Yuyuan lu children’s Amusement Park (Yuyuan lu ertong youxichang 愚園路兒童遊戲場) in the Western district. A few years later, in 1922, the Nanyang Children’s Garden (Nanyang lu ertong youxichang 南陽路兒童遊戲場) opened in the Western district for children who found it difficult to go to Jessfield Park daily. Minor open spaces were also added. The Point Garden, for instance was made available for public use as an open space by courtesy of the Shanghai Waterworks in 191626. In 1930, the SMC had started an investigation on the need for park and playground space in the International Settlement. It was found that the rapid and extensive industrial development of the Western district had brought very large numbers of factory employees, for whom no open space was available. When it became known to the public that the Council was reviewing the whole question of park space, the Joint Committee of the Shanghai Women’s Organization sent a letter to the Council. They requested the Municipal Council to give consideration to the need of a park in the vicinity of the Ferry and Robinson Road districts. After giving consideration to several possible locations for a park, the council was offered approximately 52 mu of land at an average price of approximately Tls. 16,000 per mu, south of Singapore Road and west of Kiaochow Road. The offer was accepted and the Council purchased the land in August 1931.

On April 25th 1931, Singapore Park (Xinjiapo gongyuan新加坡公園) opened with 25 mu as a children garden28. The same year, as Studley Park had become one of the most congested children’s playgrounds in the Settlement, W.J. Kerr, the Superintendent of Parks and Open Spaces suggested the provision of an additional playground in the vicinity. The Quinsan Square Children’s Garden since its redevelopment in 1930 became exceptionally popular30.

Due to public demand for more sporting fields, the Council decided in 1933 to transform a plot of land into a park with adequate fields to suit several types of sports. This was the beginning of Kiachow Park (Jiaozhou gongyuan膠州公園). At the time of its establishment the SMC incorporated the Singapore Road Park which was then a Children’s garden into the layout of Kiachow Park as well as a nursery. It opened on 12 May 1934. Prior to the acquisition of this area of 45,923 mu, there had been no municipal recreation ground in the Western district. The park represented a much needed improvement. It was designed for sports activities as well as a children’s garden: “the area is not sufficiently large to include all the necessary features of a decorative park and recreation ground, but various sections have been included in the lay-out with a view to rendering the park interesting to all visitors32. Because the territory was smaller, parks were scarcer in the French Concession, and there were no recreation ground as such. The organisation of parks in the territory was not seen as a whole system as in the International Settlement. Moreover there were not so many different types of parks. Sports were not a priority for the French Municipality as it was for the SMC. The fairly elitist Cercle Sportif was the association organising space and time for sports activities.

After 1909, the next step in park development in the French Concession occurred in 1917. The French municipal council decided to extend Koukaza Park when the stables were transferred to Zicawei Road. The same year, it decided to open the former German Circle Garden on avenue Joffre to the public as Verdun Park (Fan’erdeng gongyuan凡尔登公園). This private club was seized as a result of the war. The park then created was extended in 1920-1921 and an existing pond was filled and suppressed in 1923. It closed in January 1925 for the benefit of the French Cercle Sportif34, using the original name. In 1942 it closed again, as Ravinel Square (Lanweina gongyuan 蘭維納公園) opened nearby. Three minor open spaces were also opened: Brunat Square (Baochang gongyuan寳昌公園)(1924), Doumer Square and Pichon Square.

In 1926, Edan Park opened in the southern part of the concession. When the detachment left in 1935, an arrangement was made, and the park reopened on the first of March 1936, as the Pétain Park (Beidang gongyuan 貝當公園). The last opened park was Ravinel Square in 1942 (Image; Image).

As can be seen on this historical map, parks in the French Concession Parks were not as numerous as in the International Settlement.


Koukaza and Jessfield

From this rapid overview, a couple of ideas stand out. As far as Koukaza and Jessfield Parks are concerned, it seems apparent that both these parks can be set apart from the rest of them. Among the parks created in Shanghai, Koukaza and Jessfield Parks appeared like symbols of the French and International administrations and stood up as land-marks. As showcases, they were national representations of a way of life. Often described in guidebooks, they did not only attract residents but also tourists who would especially come to visit these sites. They would then appear as models in China. The French Park, for instance, was chosen to be the background in a novel, and its very design was reproduced in other cities. The planning of the two parks required special care from specialized horticulturists. Jessfield had the most forethought and careful design. They marked the height of the establishment of large scale planned public parks. Among the parks created in Shanghai, Koukaza and Jessfield Parks seem to best combine relaxation, recreation and educational purposes. The opening of Koukaza Park coincided with the creation of the gardener position, and its extension with the creation of the head gardener position and the appointment of Jousseaume. The establishment of Koukaza Park was, to a large extent, the work of Jousseaume. The same statement can be made with the role of MacGregor in the design of Jessfield Park.


The implantation of parks as structural part of the territorial expansion

The policy of park creation can also be seen as a way of organizing and occupying territory. The opening of parks was an important decision in the spatial organisation of the settlements. It participated in the occupation of land outside their boundaries. The map entitled “Parks Opening and Settlement Expansion (1849-1943) shows that the largest open spaces -the Recreation Ground, Hongkew Recreation Ground, Koukaza Park and Jessfield Park - were established in Chinese-administered territory during the period 1894-1914 when the policy of large public parks was implemented and the foreign powers obtained successive extensions of the settlements. Another reason might have been economic. The price of land within the urbanized territory forced the administrators to look for cheaper land outside the settlements, within reasonable distance36. This is historically wrong. Yet the admission to parks was based for decades on rules that involved both racial and ethnic criteria as well as class and cultural prejudice. For over sixty years, until June 1928, most Chinese were barred from the parks administered by the municipal councils. With the advent of the Nationalist government, the Chinese finally were admitted to most public parks in Shanghai. This issue, however, is more complex than a simple foreign vs. Chinese binary. The map “Opening of Public Parks to the Chinese Population” shows the general evolution and the nuances that need to be made during both periods.

The question of admitting Chinese to the parks seems to have been a matter of serious concern for the SMC. According to Robert Bickers, ‘the French concession is often presented as having been more enlightened than the International Settlement when it came to interactions between native and foreign residents (…) but a close look at evidence relating to parks calls this assumption into question38. As the secretary of the Shanghai Municipal Council argued, the garden being of limited size, “the Police are authorised to admit all respectable and well-dressed Chinamen and if any have been excluded, it has been a mistake on the part of the Constable at the gate which the Council regrets40”. The argument was a lame one, but “after 1881, the SMC knew full well that admission to the parks was a very sensitive issue42. In 1889, 183 tickets were issued for the Public Garden44. The SMC finally opted for a policy of segregation, with one park for each community, foreign and Chinese.

The Chinese Public Garden (Huaren gongyuan 華人公園) opened in 1890. The daotai consented to a portion of the foreshore at the entrance of the Soochow Creek to be reclaimed and included to the Public Garden46. The Chinese authorities claimed the land forming the new public garden as Chinese government property48”. As a matter of fact, the Chinese garden was largely the resort of “the coolie class who monopolised it and consequently the better class did not frequent it to any great extent”50”. Even within Chinese territory, the Chinese were not admitted in parks, which created tensions. In 1907, due to the difficulties of preventing the use of the Public Recreation Ground by the Chinese, the SMC decided to increase police vigilance52”. The solution found was also the creation in 1909 of a recreation ground for Chinese in Chinese territory, Southeast of the Hongkew Recreation Ground. In May 1909, the SMC received offers from the Chinese Young Men’s Christian Association to establish a recreation ground somewhere to the Southeast of the rifle range. The YMCA applied for public funds from the Council, who agreed for the sake of “good relations with the native section of the community54”. During this period, Indians, if badly dressed, were specifically banned from entering the parks, particularly “disreputable and dirty watchmen” (1908), Japanese men were also required to dress in Western clothes or “haori and hakama” (1908). Following the professionalization of the parks service, formal rules were edited.

In the French concession, only very few Chinese were admitted in parks; but the municipality never created parks specifically for the Chinese population. The first regulations were adopted for the Koukaza Park and were then applied to other parks. The first project of regulations was drafted by the head of the Garde municipale, Captain Mallet, in 1909. At this stage of the reflection, it seemed difficult to him to bare Indians as it is done for Chinese56”. The policy of exclusion was amended with the clear objective to implement a selection based on class. The regulations for the Koukaza Park, as published in the Bulletin Municipal on the 10 April 1924, stipulated that:

“1.Are not admitted in the Park:

  1. Natives unless dressed in foreign clothes (this rule does not apply to servants in charge of foreign children)

  2. Persons drunk or not dressed respectably

  3. Persons wearing kimonos

  4. Dogs either muzzled or led

  5. Vehicles of any description58. In 1924, he still reported problems with boys and amahs. Letters complained that the amahs were not looking after the children, that they “were not clean”, and were using all the seats60.

    There were also regulations for specific sections of the parks or for special days. For instance, amahs were barred from the seats during musical performances62. When the committee decided to create a children’s playground in 1918 in Hongkew Park the regulations stipulated that “when the children’s playground is accomplished, children, accompanied only by amahs, should not be allowed in the Park64”. In most cases application was disapproved in order not to create a precedent. In January 1921 the application to use the recreation ground for matches between foreigners and Chinese was refused. The SMC “cannot see their way to the admission of Chinese to the Recreation Ground under any pretext as the space is already insufficient for the recreation of the foreign community66. Nevertheless, the members of the park committee authorised the issue of complimentary passes into all municipal parks and gardens to a limited number of Chinese officials and members of the Chinese Advisory Committee68 ”When C.G Lubeck asked for admittance for his Chinese wife in Jessfield Park, he wrote: “I wish to mention that on application to the French Municipal Council, the Secretary kindly sent me a card for my wife, to permit her being readily admitted to Koukaza Garden even when not accompanied by myself70”.Wayside and Studley Parks were opened only on September 1 1931 to the Chinese on the same terms as foreigners72. A few years later, in 1934, a one-day entry card was also introduced at Ch. $ 0,1074


    Price of entrance tickets in french Parks75



    Annual card

    Card for one visit

    Entry to the zoological garden


    1934> 1st Jan 1935





    1935> 1st Jan 1936





    1936> 1st Jan 1937





    1937> 1st Jan 1938



    $ 0.02


    1938> 1st Jan 1939



    $ 0.05

    Annual card gives free admission to zoo.

    1939> 1st Jan 1940



    $ 0.05


    1940> 1st Jan 1941





    1941> 1st Jan 1942

    $1277” or in cases of parties of school children79. Free permits were given to schools or charitable institutions but not to the trade unions who asked for workers to be admitted to Jessfield Park81”.

Indeed, parks represented the only place offered for recreation outdoor. In 1911, for instance, four to five hundred children attended Quinsan Square daily. In 1914, during an exceptionally long hot and dry summer, “calculations made at various times during the summer showed that three out of every four of the foreign inhabitants visited one or the other of the parks daily: a record in park attendance that would be difficult to beat83”. In 1932, the park committee considered extending Jessfield Park owing to its popularity. That year, there were 780,000 visitors, a figure exceeding the previous year’s total by 170,000 and representing an increase of 100% over the total attendance during 1929. The increase in popularity in early 1932 can be explained by the fact that Hongkew Park had not been available for public use due to the Sino-Japanese hostilities in the early part of 1932. Fighting took place on park boundaries and the park property had suffered some damage. It opened again to visitors on 19 March 193285. This was meant to be a new type of park. Visitors could enjoy valleys, a refreshment house and a lake called “Ceylon Pool”. Only by 1920 did MacGregor consider the general groundwork to be fairly complete. Later additions included a Japanese Garden on the East of the park in 1920, an Alpine Garden, more refreshment stands, drinking fountains, and a water garden developed in 1927. After 1928, other changes were made to respond to the public use. New paths were drawn to encourage visitors to circulate. The touring and viewing Jessfield Park was a controlled experience, prepared from the planning of a specific route that determined the visitor’s physical movement through the park. In 1930, an area was redeveloped as a Rose and Iris Garden87.

The design of Koukaza Park also favored promenade and recreation. An artificial lake was also created. The extension of the park in 1917, when the stables were transferred to Zicawei Road, provided space and allowed for a new lay out to be created. A large greenhouse was constructed on the side of Route Vallon to create a Winter Garden, a Chinese Garden with a lotus pond and a Japanese-style Garden. By rue Lafayette, on the land newly acquired from the Chinese village an Experimental Garden (jardin d’essai) was built with small greenhouses89. He also paid a lot of attention to architectural elements. In 1921, the new park gate on Rue Molière was built in a Normand style with four pillars in concrete, doors made of wood from Tonkin and the roof with palm leaves91. A bird view of the Ravinel Park, shows also an ideal spot to take a walk.


Games and Sport

Recreation was not the only purpose of these parks, Parks committees, especially in the International Settlement, aimed at organizing sports activities and events and implement a policy to provide equipments as can be seen on the map “Sports Facilities in the Public Parks”. A swimming pool was erected in the Recreation Ground as early as 1892.

According to MacGregor, “the Parks, being public property, are open for the free use of all, and all games allowable can be played by who-so-ever desires on any of the lawns set apart for the game at any hour without application and without restrictions93.

Hongkew Park was designed to practice all kinds of sports. It featured facilities such as tennis courts or running tracks. Fields were suitable for any type of ball game. The lake was used as a fishing site. From the opening, a considerable portion was opened to the public to play cricket and tennis. It was often used by schools and clubs95. In 1930, Hongkew Park had 88 tennis courts available for 95 clubs97. In 1932, three grounds were provided for playing football, two for hockey, one for baseball and two for basketball, there were four bowling greens, eighty-three lawn tennis courts and five hard tennis court, one running track and one nine hole golf course99. The Asian Olympic Games were also held in Hongkew Park in 1921.

The use of parks for sporting activities changed with the opening of the parks to Chinese. They developed into the perfect place for morning exercise. When the parks in the French Concession changed to later opening in the morning in 1937, the Municipal Council received complaints from Chinese people who could no longer exercise in the morning.


Children’s recreation

The map “Children's Playground Equipments in the Parks” shows the repartition of children’s games facilities in the French Concession and the International Settlement. Children’s playgrounds developed later and in response to the need caused by population growth. Some parks were especially dedicated to this purpose. In other larger parks, a portion was reserved to this use. For instance, a playground for children was created in Hongkew Park in 1909101.


Recreation and educational activities (entertainment)

Beside enjoying the scenery, practicing sports activities and playing children’s games, users could also find other kinds of entertainment in parks. Their regulating committees aimed at organising different events and activities as can be seen on the map “Educational, Cultural and Commercial Activities in the Public Parks”.

Concerts were one of the most popular activities in parks. Facilities were created in the first public park, the Public Garden, in Jessfield Park, Hongkew Park and Koukaza Park. The first music pavilion was modelled on the English park style (http://virtualshanghai.ish-lyon.cnrs.fr/GetFile.php?Table=Image&ID=Image.ID.497.No.0&Op=O). The music pavilion in the Public Garden was a victorian-style round terrace topped by a roof. (http://virtualshanghai.ish-lyon.cnrs.fr/GetFile.php?Table=Image&ID=Image.ID.169.No.0&Op=O); (http://virtualshanghai.ish-lyon.cnrs.fr/GetFile.php?Table=Image&ID=Image.ID.488.No.0&Op=O) In 1908, a summer house and a band stand were erected in Hongkew Park. In 1910, this temporary bandstand was replaced by a permanent octagonal structure, and in 1920 a music kiosk was added. (http://virtualshanghai.ish-lyon.cnrs.fr/GetFile.php?Table=Image&ID=Image.ID.1540.No.0&Op=O).

In 1914, the Superintendent of parks noticed an increase in concert attendance in the Public Garden and the Hongkew Recreation Ground103. By 1930, four public concerts were held in the evenings in Jessfield Park, with an average attendance of approximately 280 people. In June, July and August, daily concerts were given at 5:30 and 9 p.m. on the bandstand. Between 1934 and 1937, Jessfield Park held open air concerts every three or four days. In 1934, there were a total of 22 concerts (18 in the Public Garden). 28 orchestral concerts were held in Jessfield and 12 concerts in Hongkew Park. In 1934, Brass Band performances were held at Jessfield, Hongkew and Wayside Parks and at the Public Garden, the majority of these being in the nature of free concerts. The military band concerts and “Retreat” performances were held in Jessfield Park. In 1934, brass band performances took place for the first time in Wayside Park and in the main section of Jessfield Park. In 1935, nine concerts were given in Jessfield Park, about as many as in Hongkew (nine) and in the Public Garden (ten). In 1935, concerts were also given in Wayside Park. In 1936, there were apparently no concert in Jessfield Park, but seven in Hongkew and ten in the Public Garden. In 1937, there were nine open-air concerts in Jessfield Park, five in Hongkew Park and 11 in the Public Garden107. The foundations of the zoo were laid on the Northern section of the park, but it developed slowly. Early descriptions refer only to monkeys and birds, with mentions of goats from 1918 onward. In 1921, 20 mu in the northen area were converted into a grazing area. The zoological garden opened formally to the public in 1922 (on a basis of a three-taëls six-month admission ticket). Originally, it detached from the rest of the park. It was not until 1929 that a path was laid to connect the main park paths to the zoo. By January 1930, the zoological garden began to experience a large growth in the number of visitors, which the arrival of a baby elephant in August 1930 boosted even further.

In Koukaza Park, a zoo opened much later. To begin with, there was only an area reserved to does (l’enclos des biches)109. (http://virtualshanghai.ish-lyon.cnrs.fr/GetFile.php?Table=Map&ID=Map.ID.598.No.0&Op=O)

As far as entertainment was concerned, other uses for parks emerged as requests poured in. When the Verdun Park opened, there was a cinema during the summer 1918 with singer, musicians and magicians111”. The SMC wanted to limit this kind of activities even though showing films in parks wasn’t unusual. In Peking for instance, cinema performances took place in Zhongyang Park during the summer 1921113. In 1942 there was no objection to the use of Jessfield Park for cinema performances. The China United Film Production115

Aside from the cinema, there were also quite a number of requests to be able to take photographs in the parks. In 1931 the SMC received an application to take a few photographs of garden landscape in Jessfield Park to be used as background for movie production. The Commissioner of Public works replied that he felt “that the granting of this permission would create an undesirable precedent and [regretted] that [he was] unable to accede to [the] request117. The Koukaza Park was often used as a background of groups and family photographs. The Lueu I primary school obtained a special authorisation to take pictures in 1931. In 1933, the Foo Sze primary school, gained also the authorisation to take a photograph with 120 persons in the park119. The idea to establish a photographic studio in Koukaza Park came first from Mr Waissmann who asked to make professional photography in Koukaza Park in a letter dated from 26 May 1938. The police was not favorable as it would create a precedent and would cause a large gathering difficult for the police to disperse. This first request was turned down. Another offer came form D.K. Yen in March 1941. The director of municipal services had in mind the need for new financial resources and decided to open a competitive tender. A contract was signed with Mao Zhizheng 毛志正 on 8 April 1941. Mao was authorised to build a booth or a hut. The next year a contract was signed with Hu Zhongfan 胡中凡.

In 1941, the SMC received a request for permission from the Modern Science Library of Japan to open an out-door library. The Council declined the requests involving the display or distribution of printed matters. The Park Committee considered that “the Parks were never intended as places for study121, although this kind of activity was never been allowed by the International Settlement Park Committee. This brought about numerous discussions as the quiet place would become much more noisy and lively. The music in particular was the source of complaints by nearby residents. Yet the “Borosky circus” managed to maintain its activity for one whole season.

In larger parks, drinking fountains were installed, but in the French Concession, the caretaker often refused the installation of refreshment kiosks. In 1939, two proposals to sell drinks and ice creams in the Verdun garden were turned down122. In the International Settlement Park it was more common practice.


Other uses

Parks were also the setting for major events or celebrations. On 31 October 1926, the Japanese emperor’s birthday ceremony was held in Hongkew Park124. In 1930, the use of the parks for special events was restricted to national celebrations126.

Military training also took place in open spaces128”. These parks, indeed, appear like symbolic spaces.

As can be seen on the map “Foreign Settlements Parks in Today's Shanghai” (http://virtualshanghai.ish-lyon.cnrs.fr/eAtlas.php?Table=Map&ID=565), the foreign-administrated parks had a lasting influence on the park system in today’s Shanghai. The time line shows the influence of the foreign administrated parks on the Shanghai park system today. It also shows that though the parks have changed the spatial configuration in Shanghai history, they were still part of the historical continuity in larger chronological scale. The parks were sometimes created where an old cemetery had stood, this is true during the foreign presence and after. It was the case of the Public Recreation Ground, where graves had to be removed to open the park in 1896129. The Verdun Park opened in 1917, had originally been fields and a cemetery. After 1950, two cemeteries were also turned into parks. The Pahsienjao Cemetery (Baxianqiao gongmu 八仙橋公墓) purchased in 1865 became Huaihai Park (Huaihai gongyuan 淮海公園) in 1958. Bubbling Well Cemetery (Jing'an si gongmu靜安寺公墓) opened in 1898, became Jing’an Park (Jing’an gongyuan靜安公園) in 1955. When looking at the map, it is apparent that most of the public parks remain to existence to this day and most of the parks in the old settlement area were already established during that time. The most central and important parks in Shanghai are the inheritors of those created in the foreign concessions. Only few of them have disappeared. Over more, in the main foreign-administered parks that still exist in Shanghai today, the architectural elements that were built at the time of the foreign presence in Shanghai were mostly kept as they were and are still visible to this day, as exemplified by these two pictures taken roughly eighty years apart. (http://virtualshanghai.ish-lyon.cnrs.fr/GetFile.php?Table=Image&ID=Image.ID.24777.No.0&Op=O) (http://virtualshanghai.ish-lyon.cnrs.fr/GetFile.php?Table=Image&ID=Image.ID.24778.No.0&Op=O)


1 Shi Mingzheng. “From Imperial Gardens to Public Parks: The Transformation of Urban Space in Early Twentieth-Century Beijing.” Modern China 24, no. 3 (1998): 219-254.

2 Cheng Xuke, and Wang Tao, ed. Shanghai yuanlin zhi, Shanghai: Shanghai she hui ke xue yuan chu ban she, 2000.

3 Bickers, Robert A., and Jeffrey Wasserstrom. “Shanghai’s ‘Dogs and Chinese Not Admitted’ Sign: Legend, History, and Contemporary Symbol.”,The China Quarterly, 142 (1995): p. 462

4 “Parks’ Report for June,” Shanghai Municipal Council Gazette, August 16, 1917, 229.

5 SMA (Shanghai Municipal Archives). AR (Annual Report of the Shanghai Municipal Council) 1906.

6 Cheng Xuke, and Wang Tao, ed. Shanghai yuanlin zhi, Shanghai: Shanghai she hui ke xue yuan chu ban she, 2000.

7 Shanghai yuanlin zhi, p. 21.

8 SMA. AR 1909

9 SMA. AR1908

10 Shi Mingzheng.

11 In 1862, the Recreation fund Trustees decide the expense of 10.000 taëls for the planning and the development of the public garden.

12 Shi Mingzheng.

13 SMA. AR 1894: July 1894.

14 SMA. AR 1908.

15 SMA. AR 1909.

16 SMA. U1-14-1968.

17 SMA. AR 1897: arrangement was made with local authorities for acquiring cadastral lot 426.

18 SMA. AR1911

19 SMA. U1-14-1968, AR 1910, p. 234.

20 SMA. AR1909

21 SMA. AR 1912

22 SMA. AR 1914. Departmental Report of the Superintendent.

23 “Parks Report for May,” SCMG, July 1, 1920, 254.

24 In July 1916 a petition was received from 14 ratepayers requesting the Council to purchase Studley Park as a playground for children. This Park had been used by residents in the vicinity for some time and had proved to a great boon, the necessary funds for up-keep being raised by quarterly contribution from parents interested. Cf. SMA. AR 1916.

25 SMA. AR1916. The vacant land at the point is the lot 6067.

26 SMA. AR 1931

27 SMA. AR 1930. An area of 25 mu fronting Singapore Road was purchase to open an additional park and playground.

28 SMA. AR 1931

29 SMA. AR1931

30 SMA. AR 1932.

31 SMA. AR 1934

32 The extension also included the garden of Li Hongzhang villa (dingxiang huayuan).

33 contract November 21st 1923

34 In this lot, French municipality buy 23 500 m² to build offices in 1938, in 1940 the project is cancelled. The 1939 project to open a new public garden in the lot given to the CSF is confirmed.

35 SMA. AR 1908

36 Bickers, Robert A., and Jeffrey Wasserstrom. “Shanghai’s ‘Dogs and Chinese Not Admitted’ Sign: Legend, History, and Contemporary Symbol”, The China Quarterly, 142 (1995): pp. 444-466.

37 Bickers, Robert A., and Jeffrey Wasserstrom. , p. 464.

38 SMA. AR. 1881, p. 92 (30). 6th April 1881 letter from residents and tax-payers: “there is in view no official notification giving such information. We have frequently seen Chinese in it, but, yesterday, when some of us ventured to enter, the police at the gate forbade us.”

39 SMA. AR. 1881. 20th April 1881. Letter from the secretary.

40 SMA. AR. 1881, p. 92 (30). 25 April (secretary).

41 Bickers, Robert A., and Jeffrey Wasserstrom. , p. 464.

42 SMA. AR. 1889

43 SMA. AR. 1889

44 In 1890, the population of the International Settlement was 171,950 persons, with only 3,821 foreigners. Zou Yiren 鄒依仁, Jiu shanghai renkou bianqian de yanjiu 旧上海人口变迁的研究 (A study of population change in old Shanghai) (1980), p. 90; 145

45 SMA. AR1890

46 SMA. AR. 1890, p. 98

47 SMA. AR. 1892. “report of the committee of the Chinese Garden”

48 SMA. AR. 1894

49 SMA. AR. 1909

50 SMA. AR. 1894: July 1894

51 SMA. AR. 1907.

52 Bickers, Robert A., and Jeffrey Wasserstrom, p. 464.

53 SMA. AR. 1909.

54 Bickers, Robert A., and Jeffrey Wasserstrom, p. 444.

55 SMA. U38-1-2325

56 SMA. U38-1-2325

57 SMA. U38-1-2325 First page of the Bulletin Municipal, 10 April 1924. Koukaza public park regulations published in French and English.

58 SMA. U38-1-2323:

59 SMA. U38-1-2325

60 SMA. U38-1-2323:

61 (1910) Bickers, Robert A., and Jeffrey Wasserstrom. , p. 462.

62 SMA. AR. 1911.

63 SMA. AR. 1918.

64 SMA. U1-3-868 

65 SMA. U1-3-868 

66 Bickers, Robert A., and Jeffrey Wasserstrom, p. 461.

67 SMA. U1-3-868 / 1922-1923

68 SMA. U1-3-868 

69 SMA. U1-3-868. June 25th 1923, C.G. Lubeck, French tramway co to SMC; Cf. admittance for his wife in Jessfield Park. In that precise case, the precedent in Rowsell’s case is followed and the SMA considers that Chinese wives take husband nationality.

70 SMA. U1-14-1967 

71 SMA. AR. 1931.

72 SMA. U38-1-2107

73 SMA. U38-1-2325

74 TSING Chin-chun, Le mouvement ouvrier en Chine, Paris, librairie orientaliste, 1929, pp. 80-81

75 SMA. U38-1-2107

76 A l’exception du square Y. de Ravinel: $ 10.

77 SMA. U1-14-1967  Commissioner of Public Works, 18 January 1930

78 SMA. U1-14-1967  Commissioner of Public Works, 16 April 1930, to Young Women’s Christian Association. “the council has only authorised the issue of free admission tickets to the Parks in cases of parties of school children. I am, therefore, unable to issue free passes to the thirty students to which you refer”.

79 SMA. U1-14-1967. Japan tourist bureau to the commissioner of public works, 4 august 1930. As tourists were arriving on the steamer “America Maru”, two groups (200 persons) wanted to visit Hongkew Park and Jessfield Park. The answer was “I have no authority to issue free passes to the Parks for adult tourists”. A similar letter from 19 December1935, ask for passes for 110 pers. The answer is a refusal as well : “they do not constitute a student body”; “free passes are not in any case issued on public holidays, Saturday afternoons or on Sundays.”

80 SMA. U1-14-1967. Union Syndicate limited, 5th may 1939: “500 young women laborers together with bout 50 administrative staff of both sexes. They will form a party at the occasion of their spring holidays from 10th to 15th inst. To enjoy the fine scenery of the Jessfield Park which are so famous to us. The answer was “the issue of free permits to parks is restricted to schools and charitable institutions.”

81 SMA. AR. 1912.

82 SMA. AR. 1914.

83 SMA. AR. 1915.

84 SMA. AR. 1932.

85 SMA. AR. 1915. Departemental Report of the Superintendent.

86 SMA. AR. 1930.

87 SMA. AR. 1930. Importation of a quantity of Roses, Dahlias and flower seeds from England; some were received from Singapore, Canada, Australia or Canton. Others were given from the Royal Horticultural Society of England, others imported from Hong Kong.

88 SMA. U38-1-2321 

89 SMA. U38-1-2321 

90 SMA. U38-1-2321. 6 June 1921. quote for the park gate

91 SMA. AR. 1911.

92 SMA. U1-14-1963. 1912

93 SMA. U1-14-1963

94 SMA. AR. 1907.

95 SMA. AR. 1908.

96 SMA. AR. 1930.

97 SMA. AR. 1931.

98 SMA. AR. 1932.

99 SMA. AR. 1914.

100 SMA. AR. 1919.

101 SMA. U38-1-2325: 1933.

102 SMA. AR. 1914.

103 SMA. AR. 1928.

104 SMA. U1-14-1977.

105 SMA. AR.

106 SMA. U1-14-2056.

107 SMA. AR. 1915. Departemental Report of the Superintendent.

108 SMA. U38-1-2325: 1933

109 SMA. U38-1-2327

110 SMA. U38-1-2333.

111 SMA. U1-14-1979

112 Dianying zhoukan, 1921.

113 SMA. U1-14-1986. Letter from Far eastern theatre company, May 23, 1932.

114 a “company formed by Chinese and Japanese shareholders with the object of advancing the national policy and promoting the civilization of the two countries”.

115 SMA. U1-14-1986

116 SMA. U1-14-1986/ 73. Letter from United Photoplay service, ltd; oct. 8. 1931

117 SMA. U1-14-1986. 7 oct 1941: Yi Hwa Motion Picture ask to use the Jessfield Park for taking a motion picture

118 SMA. U38-1-2326.

119 SMA. U1-14-1986. 19 June 1934.

120 SMA. U1-14-1971.

121 SMA. U38-1-2332. A first request in 1918 to establish a circus in the Verdun Park had been refused cf. U38-1-2333.

122 SMA. U38-1-2336. 11 April 1939: Pokrovsky asked in a letter to sell drinks and ice creams in the Verdun garden, the answer is a refusal. 12 April 1939: J. Rath ask to build a kiosk (ice creams, drinks, sweets, toys) and didn’t succeed either.

123 SMA. U1-14-1978.

124 SMA. U1-14-1960: 1920: no permission for religious services to be held in Hongkew Park.

125 SMA. U1-14-1960.

126 SMA. UI-14-1959 

127 SMA. U1-14-1960.

128 SMA. AR. 1909.

129 SMA. AR. 1896.

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