Frederick Maze

By Special Collections, SOAS Library|5th November 2020|Collections & Research|

Frederick Maze (1871-1959) was the fourth, and last, British Inspector General of the Chinese Maritime Customs Service. Committed to preserving a unified customs service, Maze guided the Chinese Maritime Customs Service through a period of great upheaval in China’s history, successfully implementing a series of reforms which served to reshape the service. Born in Belfast, Maze entered the Customs Service in 1891, and became in 1899 the Acting Audit Secretary

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Robert Hart, Inspector General of the Chinese Maritime Customs Service

By Special Collections, SOAS Library|22nd May 2020|Collections & Research|

In celebration of Maritime Day, this latest blog post examines one of the central figures in the Imperial Chinese Maritime Customs Service, Sir Robert Hart. Hart became a key figure in the history of China in the 19th century and its foreign relations with the West. Witness to four foreign invasions of China during a time when the country was struggling with the need for modernisation, Hart played a major

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Xīnnián kuàilè – Happy New Year!

By Special Collections, SOAS Library|6th February 2019|Collections & Research|0 comments

This week marks the beginning of the celebrations for Chinese New Year. Because this is a lunar celebration the date changes each year – this year it began on February 5th. Chinese New Year is one of the world’s most prominent and celebrated festivals and is one of the longest festivals of the Chinese calendar, beginning the evening before the first day of the year and culminating with the Lantern

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Valentine’s Day in the Archive

By Special Collections, SOAS Library|14th February 2018|Collections & Research|0 comments

Our collections at SOAS Archives reflect the British interaction with Africa and Asia over the last 250 years and include the papers of missionary societies, NGOs and campaign groups, and business organisations. Not where you would expect to find tales of love, perhaps, but every Archive has its romances and Valentine’s Day seems to be a good day to share a few! Voices of those in our Archive who travelled and explored Asia and

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The Righteous and Harmonious Fists

By Special Collections, SOAS Library|3rd November 2017|Collections & Research|0 comments

Taking place in the wake of serious drought, floods and hunger, The Boxer Rebellion, Yihetuan or most poetically, The Righteous and Harmonious Fists Movement, was an uprising in China that took place between 1899 and 1900. Tensions rose quickly, culminating with serious anti-foreigner violence in Peking (Beijing) and the city being taken under siege by ‘the Boxers’. Eight international forces eventually forcibly subdued the rebels and the following September the Peking Protocol was

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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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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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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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200 years of Swire: The China Navigation Company

By Special Collections, SOAS Library|25th September 2016|Collections & Research|4 comments

In celebration of World Maritime Day, this latest post in the series commemorating the 200th anniversary of John Swire & Sons focuses on The China Navigation Company [CNCo]. Established in 1872, today CNCo is the wholly owned, deep-sea shipping and operating arm of the Swire Group, operating a a global network of multi purpose liner services, drybulk,  and bulk logistics services. By the early 1870s John Samuel Swire was convinced

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200 Years of Swire: George Warren Swire, 1883-1949

By Special Collections, SOAS Library|1st September 2016|Collections & Research|

A keen amateur photographer, the legacy left by (George) Warren Swire goes beyond his contribution to the development of John Swire & Sons, today one of the most successful companies in the world. G W Swire’s collection of documentary photographs provides a valuable pictorial record of the expansion of trade in China throughout a forty year period. G W Swire was born in 1883, (d. 1949), to John Samuel Swire

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