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June 8, 2013

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Archives from halcyon days go public for first time

SOME 16,000 archive documents about Shanghai's earliest companies, factories and hospitals will be revealed to the public for the first time beginning tomorrow at Shanghai Municipal Archives.

The exhibition will include photos and documents about the city's four major department stores - Sincere, Wing on, Xinxin and the Sun in the 1930s. It will also include information and Xiexin Textile Co, one of the earliest textile companies in the city. Xiexin Textile was opened by the grandfather of former Hong Kong politician Henry Tang, said Xu Xuan, a researcher with the archives.

Zhu Jihua, curator of the archives, said: "Many of the archives, including many former confidential documents, letters and photos, are being made public so people can learn more about the history of the city."

Visitors with identity cards or passports can view photocopies or original documents free at the Shanghai Municipal Archives at the Bund. Staffers can provide translation services.

Meanwhile, a separate exhibition of archives from the city's districts opened yesterday.

Highlights include the city's earliest known land rental contract, which was issued by the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) government about 230 years ago.

The land near the Shenjiazhai area in the Pudong New Area was rented to UK and French colonists with the approval of the Qing imperial court, which invited the foreign armies to suppress local rebels, Xu said.

An exhibition with pictures and exhibits about Shanghai's modern history was also opened to the public at the archives.

More than 600 pictures and files reveal the development of the city from the 1920s to modern days.

The exhibition has 14 sections including the Concession Era, Early Industry, Cultural Revolution, Reform and Opening Up, as well as the Beautiful Future.

Other highlights include the Disappearing Memory, featuring buildings no longer around; Classic Memory, an exhibit about the Bund in the 1940s; and Expo Memory sections.

The World Expo exhibit includes important files from the 2010 event in Shanghai, including the registration report, host application and blueprints for the China Pavilion.


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