Swire Graduate Tour

By Special Collections, SOAS Library|10th September 2015|Teaching & Learning|0 comments

We were delighted to welcome the new Swire Graduate Recruits at the end of August for a visit to the Archives.

This is an annual event where recently appointed Swire staff are invited to participate in a series of seminars held at SOAS over three days. The seminars aim to introduce the new recruits to the history and culture of the countries where they are to be posted overseas.

The event includes a visit to SOAS Archives and Special Collections to see the Swire Archive which has been held there since the 1970s. The intention is to give these future managers a flavour of the rich history of the company and its ethos.

Examining some Taikoo Dockyard records

We’ve blogged a bit before about the Swire Archive but just as a quick reminder, the company has a long and distinguished history of shipping, trade and related enterprises in China, the Far East, and Australia stretching back for almost two centuries. The archives offer fascinating insights not only into the growth and expansion of the business, but also into the history and development of China and the Far East as seen through the eyes of the key protagonists in this family-run firm.

Looking at the records of former staff

As well as the more usual types of business records, such as Articles of Association, Ledgers and Minute Books we also put out a number of letter books documenting not only the numerous challenges faced by the company over the years (piracy, smuggling, the Teaboy Dispute, Boxer Rebellion, WW2 to name but a few…) but also the attitudes and opinions of the Directors and their managers towards, well, everything! What makes the Swire Archive special is the frankness of the correspondence as well as its comprehensiveness.

We hope this year’s group enjoyed their visit – here’s to many more!

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About Special Collections, SOAS Library

Broadly speaking, our collections reflect the British interaction with Africa, Asia and the Middle East over the last 250 years, and include archives of missionary societies, NGOs and campaign groups, and business organisations, as well as papers of individuals, including diplomats, campaigners, and academics. If you have any questions, or comments, please get in touch! email: special.collections@soas.ac.uk tel: +44 (0)20 7898 4180

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