B is for … Bubbling Well Road, Shanghai 上海南京西路老照片

The Bubbling Well Road was the road to the ‘Bubbling Well’, to Jing’an Temple, an extension of the Nanjing Road, known to Chinese residents as the ‘Dama lu’ 大马路’. Early residents of what became the International Settlement used to walk out for recreation along this route to the temple. As the settlement grew it became for a time a quiet, semi-rural residental area. It was incorporated into the Settlement in 1899. In 1919 it was the ‘prettiest road in Shanghai’, remarked the Revd Darwent, who took the photograph below, ‘the foliage is rich and full’.

Bubbling Well Road, Shanghai, Hayward collection, da01-02.

It was a favourite with those who liked to show off their new automobiles — evidence of Shanghai’s First World War boom — by driving up and down it at all hours. As well as the temple, it was the site of a settlement police station, and the Bubbling Well Cemetery, opened in 1898, closed in 1951, and redeveloped two years later. The present Jing’an park occupies the site.

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