The 3rd day of Shanghai horse racing in 1884
Check the map in the travel guide, you can Learn a lot of assumptions about how the city works. Popular scenic spots or spots that provide specific services are marked more clearly than those with only conventional functions, while other spots are not marked or even blank. This type of city map is aimed at specific readers. Take the historical English Shanghai guidebook as an example. You will find that the hotel and the club are clearly marked, but on one or two maps, the old county town within the city wall is blank. For example, a guide in 1904 did not consider it necessary to provide any guidance on the Chinese city to foreign tourists visiting Shanghai. Why go there and what might be learned? The target audience therefore knows nothing about this area, and satire or prejudice fills the gap:narrow streets, dirty air, and dangerous dark are several common prejudices. The early history of Shanghai written in English had a blank description of the old county. A few blocks to the northwest of the county seat is another place that is very conspicuous on the city map. It not only echoes the shape of the old county seat, but is basically blank in its own way, that is, the Shanghai Racecourse. I think it’s fair to say that even though the Shanghai Racetrack is marked in the travel guide and has related entries under organized leisure and sports, it is often blank in our historical works, or Left to irony or prejudice. In this book, Zhang Ning explained clearly and powerfully why we shouldn’t leave it blank, and how we can deepen our understanding of China’s modern history and urban history by examining the operation and changes of the Shanghai Racetrack and other similar locations. Awareness.
1921 Shanghai Race Club member badge (provided by Bi Kesi)
In the second half of the 19th century, Europeans and Americans who landed from Shanghai came to work. We know what these people bought, sold, built, demolished, written—we think we know what they think, who they are, how they live, and how they left the world. We have the history of Shanghai Ocean Bank, diplomatic history, normal biographies and beautified biographies; we have information about the public concession and the Ministry of Industry, French Concession, Shanghai architecture, medical and public health, missionary activities, house arrest, education, banking , Historical works on securities transactions. There are a lot of related works, not just because foreign companies, missionaries and foreign forces have left us a large number of archives and printed materials. However, when we seriously study Shanghai’s business, diplomacy, conflict, and religion (but we only studied missionaries to a certain extent, we have limited understanding of the actual religious beliefs and practices of foreign men and women in China in the 19th century), medical treatment, and violence When having sex, we rarely pay attention to organized leisure activities.
But the leisure space is the first place that outsiders pay attention to when they first arrive. When demarcating concessions, foreign consuls and residents not only set aside land for consulates, cemeteries, and religious sites, they also often open up a racetrack. These locations are important. They pray, relax, and die in these places-at the consulate, their deaths are officially recorded and the estate is managed. The floor plans and maps in the archives and travel guides clearly show the racecourse, and also show how the racecourse has repeatedly migrated with the expansion of the concession. Today we can still see these marks from the shape of the streets of Shanghai. It is worth noting that leisure quickly evolved from an amateur activity to a mature business. Outsiders who work here, they work hard and earn money so that they can retire and go home after they have accumulated a certain amount of wealth, which is about 20,000 pounds. Hard work means accumulating goods for export, constantly updating trade notices to be sent with the ship, frantically bidding for tea or cotton, and constantly seeking space from shipping companies. Of course, they also have free time. The diaries and letters left by them indicate that they would go to the rental industry, take a walk in the neighboring countryside, they played lawn bowls, sang, composed, danced, they rowed, and later participated in team sports, built golf courses and tennis courts, and they horse riding. Considering that there are few foreign women (so men dance with men), they transfer their hometown life as much as possible to trade ports such as Shanghai, Fuzhou, Zhenjiang, etc., initially rarely spread through social groups.
The characteristics of these activities eventually developed into the focus of Zhang Ning’s book exploration-horse racing. The new arrivals come from countries where horses play an important role in daily life and even organized or private leisure culture. Therefore, horse racing was transplanted to China’s trade ports and played a key role in the leisure world, just as it did in the UK. This is not only because they have the newspaper”Sporting Life” sent from home, and they have light reading materials such as RS Surtees’ hunting story”Jorrocks’ Travel and Joy” (Jorrocks’ Jaunts and Jollities). This kind of social comedy hunting floods the pages of popular magazines such as Punch. Therefore, in Shanghai, outsiders happily read John Leech’s cartoons, and social climbers in the cartoons try to climb Get on horseback (or fall off horseback). Outsiders riding horses in China to exercise their body, but also for competitions, to show their status. In the spring of 1876, John Samuel Swire, the senior partner of Butterfield & Swire, wrote from London to his partner in Shanghai, William Lang, and said:”I am glad you like those horses. … How do you think they compare to the top horses in London in terms of appearance and running? Are they the best horses in China now? Their fertility is first-rate.” John Shuaiya previously passed the Australian partner James Lowe Sir James Lorimer bought two ponies in Melbourne and shipped them to Shanghai. This arrangement is expensive and may be risky for horses. These words in the letter are not only a gesture, but also show the personal characteristics of the senior partner. What he focused on in the letter was William Lange’s impression of the horse’s quality. We can see the importance of horses in John Shuaiya’s private life and how they overlap with his business life. He has always been keen on hunting. When he was young, he joined a prestigious hunting event in Cheshire, south of Liverpool. In his later years, he participated in a lively observation organized by Baron Rothschild in the Vale of Aylesbury, north London. Hunting game. The Melbourne newspaper kept a few records of his activities there during the gold rush from 1854 to 1858, including his joining the Melbourne Hunting Club and his excellent results in one of the obstacle courses. John Shuaiya’s letter book contains many letters from his business dealings with trainers and grooms. Hunting and horse riding are also common themes in his letters with friends. It is hard to imagine that when he first arrived in Shanghai to open an office for Swire Pacific in November 1866, he would not take part in the local paper hunting competition and would run on the hard and cold land near Shanghai. John Shuaiya spends a lot of time riding horses and is determined to win, just as he always strives to play fair and win in all aspects of life. The skilled rider of Liverpool established connections with others on horseback, and also established contacts in clubs or associations. His son is the president of the fox hunt and once introduced French horsemanship to British audiences. His grandson John Kidston Swire (John Kidston Swire) stayed in Hong Kong for the first time before World War I. From the only photo we have at that time, we can see that he is straddling a horse.
Various Champagne tickets
The top is the front and the bottom is the back, provided by Wang Qiyuan
Over time, this private and social leisure activity has gradually developed into a lucrative business. Men ride horses to exercise and ride the countryside during the paper hunting season, but many of them also ride for victory. The official history published by the Shanghai Paper Hunting Association is mainly a collection of hunting records and a list of winners (the attached map also shows the countryside where the competition has passed, as if it can claim to own these areas). In the Jockey Club, the horse owner will either go on the field in person and fight with others, or hire young people to serve as jockeys for them. In this process, a complex business gradually took shape, as shown in Zhang Ning’s book, including the organized transportation of Mongolian horses from North China Go to Shanghai to formulate a series of regulations and practices, train professional jockeys, and have a competition cycle every year, and of course betting. The Australian horses that John Shuaiya arranged to be transported to Shanghai by North China gradually faded out of the organized horse racing world. Instead, people bid for smaller Mongolian horses shipped from outside the customs. In this way, at least in theory, having money does not have many advantages. However, the racecourse is still a place for display, which can give people the impression of”top” and”first-rate” that John Shuaiya hopes. In fact, because of this, Swire Pacific later banned employees from serving as horse owners or jockeys in order to avoid spending too much on horses and causing debt (but still continue to encourage riding for fitness). Being elected as a director of the Jockey Club, having the ability to run a stable, and of course having the ability to win in the competition, will definitely bring high social prestige.
We may only focus on horses, but Zhang Ning is correct and rewarding to further track money, competitions have bonuses, and gambling has become an important part of this culture and has always been a characteristic of sojourn life. It’s just not much record. In the heyday of the tea trade, people would place huge bets on which clipper from Fuzhou arrived in London first. During the prosperity of Shanghai in the early 1860s, conspicuous consumption and conspicuous gambling were a major feature of concession life. The biannual horse races provide opportunities to place bets and get rich, and of course, for most people, it is more likely to be a chance to lose money. As this book will show, this series of cultural and social practices intersects with money and gradually becomes a business, which is translated between different cultures. It gave birth to competing jockey clubs and racecourses outside of the British business community in Shanghai. This is a specific aspect of the commercialization and transformation of Chinese urban culture, starting from the late 19th century to the beginning of the 20th century, and it is often carried out first in urban centers dominated by foreign powers. We have observed similar phenomena in the history of education, business, and religion. For the academic world, it seems that scholars choose these themes instead of horse racing to analyze cultural exchanges and interactions, but this may also be due to horses. And the world it built has basically disappeared from our lives, at least not seen in the lives of historians, so that we can’t understand or how to tell its previous status in society. Of course, for some people, nothing can symbolize the poisoning and corrosion of foreign powers to China’s trade ports more than horse racing and the gambling that follows. However, as the author of the book Zhang Ning believes, this is not a black and white story. Horse racing developed in some urban centers in China is a multinational leisure business. Facts have proved that this business is becoming more and more profitable, and it is widely and wildly welcomed.
This kind of convergence of interests and cultural transplantation, horse racing is not the only case. Zhang Ning showed how other sports have been introduced using the economic success of horse racing, including dog running and jai li ball games. New social practices have developed from this. This involves China’s traditional elites. As Zhang Ning will point out, it also involves emerging professional elites and the small citizens who have shaped the city culturally. These are integrated undertakings, and different participants have different goals. If we only want to find a story shaped by imperial power, cooperation, and anti-colonialism from the history of modern China, we cannot fully understand modern China. If we want to understand the transformation of modern Chinese cities under foreign influence, we also need to go beyond consulates, churches, foreign companies, mission schools, and the Ministry of Industry and Development. We also need to look at these commercial leisure places. In this regard, the case provided by Zhang Ning may be more convincing than others. Through this book, you will find that modern Chinese cities are the product of multinational forces’ wrestling and cultural interaction.
Translated by Li Qiyao; edited by Zhang Ning