Butterfield and Swire’s Secret Code!

By Special Collections, SOAS Library|4th October 2017|Collections & Research|0 comments

SOAS holds the extensive archives of John Swire and Sons (JSS), a two hundred year old business established in Liverpool by one John Swire. Initially a modest textiles import-export business, after John’s death in 1847 it began to trade all manner of goods with Asia, from fencing wire to silks, Guinness to tea, and with great success. Still thriving today, the Swire Group is perhaps most famously known for its air

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Gladys Aylward

By Special Collections, SOAS Library|10th September 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

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Memories of Partition – 70 years on

By Special Collections, SOAS Library|14th August 2017|Collections & Research|4 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

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The China Association

By Special Collections, SOAS Library|10th August 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

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David Storm Rice’s excavations at Harran, Turkey

By Special Collections, SOAS Library|28th July 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

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200 Years of Swire: Butterfield & Swire

By Special Collections, SOAS Library|10th July 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

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Miniature Portraits in the London Missionary Society Archive

By Special Collections, SOAS Library|3rd July 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

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

By Special Collections, SOAS Library|23rd June 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

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200 Years of Swire: Taikoo Sugar Refinery

By Special Collections, SOAS Library|10th June 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,

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The personal papers of Liao Hongying, agricultural chemist and teacher

By Special Collections, SOAS Library|31st May 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

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