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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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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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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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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The personal papers of Derek Bryan, consular official and teacher

By Special Collections, SOAS Library|20th April 2017|Collections & Research|2 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

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Chinese evangelical posters

By Special Collections, SOAS Library|7th April 2017|Collections & Research|0 comments

This week’s blog looks at two new collections of Chinese evangelical posters acquired by SOAS Library, originally published by the Religious Tract Society for China from their offices in Hankow and Shanghai in the 1930s and early 1940s. Catalogues for the posters are now available on the Archive Catalogue under MS 380713 and MS 381279. The Religious Tract Society (R.T.S.) was founded in 1799 for the distribution of Christian evangelical

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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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