200 years of Swire: John Samuel Swire, 1825-1898

By Special Collections, SOAS Library|16th August 2016|Collections & Research|0 comments

John Swire may have established the firm of John Swire & Sons, but it was his son, John Samuel Swire, known as ‘the Senior’ who can be credited with laying the foundations of the business we know today. He was just twenty one when he took control of his father’s company, but it was clear that he had inherited his father’s work ethic and shrewdness along with a great sense

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200 years of Swire: John Swire 1793-1847

By Special Collections, SOAS Library|14th July 2016|Collections & Research|0 comments

This is an important year for John Swire & Sons: they are celebrating their 200th anniversary, no mean feat for a family-owned business. In celebration of this success we will be writing a series of blogs under the banner of ‘200 years of Swire’, looking in more detail at some of the key moments in the firms history, the challenges it faced and the individuals who were instrumental in its

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“The Formosan Documents”: Archives of Taiwan Indigenous Peoples from SOAS Collections

By Special Collections, SOAS Library|17th February 2016|Collections & Research|0 comments

This month’s blog has been written by Dr. Niki Alsford, currently a Research Fellow at the Oriental Institute, Czech Academy of Sciences in Prague, and Research Associate at the Centre of Taiwan Studies at SOAS.  He is also the author of a new edited volume, ‘Buried Treasures: Taiwan Indigenous Peoples’ Archives Held at the School of Oriental & African Studies, the University of London’, due for publication by the Council

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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

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Women’s History Month 2015: Women in the staff letter books of Butterfield & Swire (John Swire and Sons Limited)

By Special Collections, SOAS Library|16th March 2015|Collections & Research|0 comments

To celebrate Women’s History Month 2015, the campaign to raise the profile of women’s history and to champion women of the past, we will be highlighting a number of historical collections held by SOAS Archives which reveal the contributions of women to events in history and contemporary society. To mark Women History Month we have sampled the early staff letter books of Butterfield & Swire for evidence of the emerging

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John Swire, Alfred Holt and Liverpool’s Chinese Community

By Special Collections, SOAS Library|24th November 2014|Collections & Research|0 comments

Our guest blog this week looks at how research using business archives at SOAS is helping to uncover the hidden history of Chinese merchant seamen serving on British ships and living in British ports during the First and Second World Wars, and the changing nature of their relationship with British authorities and shipping companies in the post war period. Our blogger is Yvonne Foley from the Half and Half memorial project.

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Conserving Swire’s archives

By Special Collections, SOAS Library|17th November 2014|Behind the scenes|0 comments

This week’s guest blog is written by Graeme Gardiner ACR, Director of Preservation Solutions, and takes a fascinating behind the scenes look at the professional conservation work currently being undertaken on the archives of John Swire & Sons, held here at SOAS Archives. The conservation of the Swire archive has been ongoing since 2011, and is scheduled for completion in 2019. In 25 years of working as a conservator of archival material, this

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Pirates, Shipping and Merchants on the North China Coast

By Special Collections, SOAS Library|19th September 2014|Collections & Research|0 comments

Okay, so we are going back in time a little bit by blogging about this exhibition which we created in October 2012, but it is International ‘Talk Like a Pirate Day’! We included some of these items in our recent display of material as part of our Annual Open Day and they went down a storm (maritime related punning purely accidental!), so we thought you might like to hear more

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Swire Archives Project: Additions to the Collection

By Special Collections, SOAS Library|15th April 2014|Collections & Research|0 comments

Following on from our earlier post about the Swire Collection at SOAS, we’d like to tell you more about how the collection has been developed over the last three years since a dedicated archivist has been in post. The collection was originally deposited in the 1970s, and at that stage had around 250 boxes of material. One of the biggest changes since 2001 has been the addition of new material

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John Swire & Sons, Ltd

By Special Collections, SOAS Library|3rd April 2014|Collections & Research|1 comments

SOAS has held the archives of John Swire & Sons since the 1970s, and for three years has had a dedicated archivist sponsored by the company to work on developing the collection. This post aims to give a bit of background to the history of the company and the significance of the collection. Future posts will focus in more detail on how access to the collection is being improved. Today

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