Gladys Aylward

By Archives & Special Collections, SOAS Library|September 10, 2017|Collections & Research|

Born in North London, in 1902, Gladys Aylward worked as a housemaid from the age of 14. In 1925, she became convinced that she had received God’s calling to spread his word in China after attending an evangelical meeting. She was refused missionary service in China by the China Inland Mission Centre in London, for failing their examinations. In October 1930, Gladys realized her ambition when she went to Yangchen

Read More

Memories of Partition – 70 years on

By Archives & Special Collections, SOAS Library|August 14, 2017|Collections & Research|2 comments

This week’s blog is written by our South Asia Librarian, Farzana Whitfield, and marks the 70th anniversary of the Partition of India. Farzana looks back on her family’s personal experience and memories of Partition. This August marks 70 years of India’s independence from British rule (15th August) giving birth to 2 nations- a Hindu majority India and a Muslim majority Pakistan (14th August). Subsequently there were 3 wars between India

Read More

The China Association

By Archives & Special Collections, SOAS Library|August 10, 2017|Collections & Research|

The China Association was a mercantile body, formed to represent the interests of those concerned with trade to China, Hong Kong and Japan. Working closely alongside the London Chamber of Commerce, local Chambers, the Federation of British Industries and the Foreign Office, the Association took on the grievances of British traders in China and presented these to the British government and the Chinese authorities. The Association was created following a

Read More

David Storm Rice’s excavations at Harran, Turkey

By Archives & Special Collections, SOAS Library|July 28, 2017|Collections & Research|0 comments

This week’s blog looks at the papers of David Storm Rice’s excavations at Harran, Turkey. Rice, a SOAS academic, made four expeditions to Harran in the 1950s. Each expedition is represented in the archive, which includes notes, photographs, drawings, and correspondence made in the field, documenting not only Rice’s findings but also the practical side of organising an archaeological dig. Harran is in south-east Turkey, not far from Urfa and

Read More

200 Years of Swire: Butterfield & Swire

By Archives & Special Collections, SOAS Library|July 10, 2017|Collections & Research|1 comments

In continuation of our celebration of the bi-centenary of John Swire & Sons, this week’s blog post takes a closer look at Butterfield & Swire, the Eastern managers for the interests of John Swire & Sons in China and Japan. Butterfield and Swire, the Far Eastern trading company of John Swire and Sons [JS&S], was one of three companies established from the partnership of John and William Swire with R

Read More

Miniature Portraits in the London Missionary Society Archive

By Archives & Special Collections, SOAS Library|July 3, 2017|Behind the scenes, Collections & Research|0 comments

This week’s blog looks more closely at a fascinating collection of miniature portraits found in the archive of the London Missionary Society, which are currently undergoing conservation treatment to ensure their long-term preservation. The archive of the London Missionary Society is rich in visual materials, including photographs, drawings, paintings and engravings. Amongst this material is a unique collection of 165 miniatures dating from  around 1798 to 1844, primarily watercolour on

Read More

Academics, Agents and Activists: A history of the School of Oriental and African Studies, 1916-2016

By Archives & Special Collections, SOAS Library|June 23, 2017|Collections & Research|1 comments

John Hollingworth, Gallery Manager and co-curator of ‘Academics, Agents & Activists: a history of the School of Oriental and African Studies, 1916-2016’, concludes his overview of this fascinating centenary exhibition recently on display at the Brunei Gallery, which showcased material from the incredibly rich archive collections at SOAS – both the School’s own institutional archive and material held by Archives & Special Collections, SOAS Library. The exhibition was organized around

Read More

200 Years of Swire: Taikoo Sugar Refinery

By Archives & Special Collections, SOAS Library|June 10, 2017|Collections & Research|0 comments

This week we continue our series of posts celebrating the bicentenary of John Swire & Sons by taking a look at the iconic Taikoo Sugar Refinery.     Established by John Samuel Swire in 1881 in direct competition to Jardine, Matheson & Co who already owned a refinery, the Taikoo Sugar Refinery in Hong Kong soon became the world’s largest and most sophisticated plant in its day. Butterfield and Swire,

Read More

The personal papers of Liao Hongying, agricultural chemist and teacher

By Archives & Special Collections, SOAS Library|May 31, 2017|Collections & Research|0 comments

This week’s blog looks at the papers of Liao Hongying (1905-1998), which have recently been catalogued. An agricultural chemist, Liao met her husband Derek Bryan while he was working in China. Moving with him to Britain, Liao became committed to furthering understanding of China, a task on which Liao and Bryan worked closely together throughout their lives. Liao’s papers are available on the Archive Catalogue under PP MS 99. Liao

Read More

The personal papers of Derek Bryan, consular official and teacher

By Archives & Special Collections, SOAS Library|April 20, 2017|Collections & Research|0 comments

This week’s blog looks at the personal papers of Hermann Derek Bryan (1910-2003), which have recently been catalogued. Bryan’s life and career were bound up with China, firstly as a consular official and later as a teacher and advocate of closer British-Chinese relations. The catalogue for his papers is available on the Archive Catalogue under PP MS 99. Bryan first sailed for China in 1932, aged 21. He had taken

Read More