Our collections

All the images from every collection in the Historical Photographs of China (HPC) online archive can be searched for from the ‘All images’ button. Some of the collections listed below are large - the G Warren Swire collection consists of 1970 images - while others are small: there’s only one image in the Scherr collection. A search can be made to see all the images in a single collection – for example a search for Armstrong will call up the whole of the Armstrong collection (as well as other iterations on this site of the word Armstrong).  Use the large search box on the home page for general keyword searches.

Use the smaller search boxes for more targeted searches within just one of the general Collection categories (these are:  Fu Bingchang, Chinese Maritime Customs, Shanghai Municipal Police, G. Warren Swire and National Archives, London) or in All Images.  Searches can be made in one field only, for example, search for amah in the Title field only. A particular image can be searched for by entering its HPC image reference, for example enter Ar01-001 in the HPC reference field. A search for mission* (i.e. the word with an asterisk), will elicit image entries with metadata keywords such as mission, missions, missionary and missionaries.  Work by a particular photographer, can be searched for either on the Photographers page or by naming the photographer and selecting Photographer in the drop down search menu.

Furthermore, to search for any images relating to Peking before 1900, for example, go to All Images  - then enter the word Peking in All fields in the upper search box and <1900 in the Date field in the lower search box; then click on the binoculars (or press Enter on your keyboard).  Please note that both the Collection and Location search fields are not yet fully developed.  Remember to click on the red x to clear a previous search and reset the facility.

Photographs in albums are numbered in the same order as they appear in the original album. An album can be viewed as an entity, by searching for the album reference number. For example, a search for Ar01 will return all the images in the first Armstrong album.


List of collections


Anthony collection

Augustus Anthony worked for the Imperial Maritime Customs Service (Chinese Maritime Customs Service) from 1911 to 1913.  These twenty-two photographs relate to construction work at IMCS/CMCS lighthouses (An-s).

Owned privately.


Armstrong collection

William Armstrong (1867-1931, served Shanghai Municipal Police 1893-1927). This collection includes photographs from police and other sources recording major political events that took place in Shanghai, such as the aftermath of the 1925 May 30th incident, as well as images he appears to have taken himself on houseboat leisure trips in the Taihu region west of Shanghai. 452 photographs from four albums (Ar01, Ar02, Ar03 and Ar04).

Owned privately.


Banister family collection

Bishop William Banister (1855-1928), of the Church Missionary Society, sometime Archdeacon at Hong Kong, and first Bishop of Kwangsi-Hunan.  Banister served with the CMS in Fujian province.  The collection includes photographs once owned by his son-in-law, Norman Lockhart Smith. 658 images from seven albums (Ba01, Ba02, Ba03, Ba04, Ba05, Ba06 and Ba07), and loose prints (Ba-s).

1890s to 1920s.

Owned privately.


Bayley collection

Only one image online so far.  Canton, 1870 (AB-s).

Owned privately.


Bickers collection

Professor Robert Bickers’ own collection of photographs and post cards (Bi-s).

Owned privately.


Booker collection

23 Kodacolor 35mm transparencies (slides), taken by Air Vice-Marshal A.L. Fiddament (1896-1976) during a round the world fact finding trip in 1945 (RB-t).  Kunming, Chongqing and Shanghai.

Owned privately.


Bowra collection

Edward Charles MacIntosh Bowra (1841-1874), sinologist and botanist, served in the Imperial Maritime Customs. 200 photographs from two albums (Bo01 and Bo02). Ningbo and Beijing especially, 1870s.

Royal Society for Asian Affairs, London.


British Steel Archive Project collection

25 photographs (BS-s). 1930s.  Mostly Shanghai and Hong Kong.

Teeside Archives, Middlesbrough.


Carey collection

Frederic William Carey served in the Chinese Maritime Customs, 1891-1928. 39 photographs taken by him, from an album (FC01). 1896-1902.  Yunnan province.

Owned privately.


Carrall collection

Many of the 242 images in the Carrall collection were apparently taken by Maude Carrall or by Murial Carrall, daughters of James Wilcocks Carrall, whose long career (1868-1902) in the Imperial Maritime Customs Service, culminated as Commissioner of Customs in Yantai. Two albums (Ca01 and Ca02) and loose prints (Ca-s).

Queen’s University Belfast.


Carstairs collection

Miscellaneous photographs and post cards (JC-s), and magic lantern slides (JC-m).

Owned privately.


Chatterton collection

A collection of 17 photographs, many of foot binding (Ch-s).

Owned privately.


Cottrell collection

Fred and Marjorie Cottrell worked for the Methodist Missionary Society in Yunnan Province, c.1925-51. 111 photographs (Co-s).  Many of the photos were taken by Fred or Marjorie Cottrell.  Mostly 1930s.

Owned privately.


Crellin collection

7 photographs (DC-s), either taken or owned by Thomas Frank Crellin (1883-1949), photographer and cinematographer. 1923-27, mostly Shanghai.

Owned privately.


Crowley collection

24 photographs, from a scrap book (Cr01) containing ephemera and photographs relating to the accidental death and funeral of Sub-Inspector John Crowley, a Shanghai policeman, 1927-28.

Owned privately.


Darwent collection

The Revd. Charles Ewart Darwent, author and photographer.  Darwent was the author of ‘Shanghai: a handbook for travellers and residents to the chief objects of interest in and around the foreign settlement and native city’ (c.1904). 36 of his photographs from an album (Da01). Shanghai and area, early 1900s.

Owned privately.


Delnavine collection

81 images (RD-s), Canton and Hong Kong, including dairy farming and a typhoon.

Owned privately.


Dinsdale collection

1 photograph (Di-s02), a Shanghai guest house or hotel, c.1905.

Owned privately.


Ephgrave collection

Only a few images currently online, more to come. 1920s.

Owned privately.


Elliott collection

The Canadian doctor Charles Coyne Elliott, of the China Inland Mission, served in Sichuan, from early in the twentieth century until 1922.   84 images from two albums (El01 and El02) and two loose prints (El-s).

Owned privately.


Fu collection

Fu Bingchang (1895-1965) diplomat, politician, as well as an accomplished portrait and landscape photographer.  See biography and further details: http://hpc.vcea.net/Collection/Fu_Bingchang. 530 images from 9 albums (Fu01, Fu02, Fu03, Fu04, Fu05, Fu06, Fu07, Fu08 and Fu09), loose prints (Fu-s) and negatives (Fu-n).

Owned privately.


Grove collection

321 images of Tianjin in two sets.  Gr01 are post cards and Gr02 mostly consists of photos taken during the Japanese occupation.

Owned privately.


Hayward (Rev J.) collection

32 images from a family album (Hy01).  Shanghai, early 1900s.

Owned privately.


Hayward (T. & G.) collection

5 images from negatives (Ha-n), 1870s.  Also two prints, 1920-30s - more to come.

Owned privately.


Hedgeland collection

These document the whole Customs career of Reginald Follett Codrington Hedgeland, who served in Nanjing, Tianjin, Lappa, Kowloon, Shantou and Nanning. See brief biography and further details: http://hpc.vcea.net/Collection/Chinese_Maritime.  604 images in three albums (He01, He02 and He03) and loose prints (He-s).

Please note revised SOAS archive catalogue reference numbers:

HPC ref He01 (SOAS archive catalogue reference: PP MS 82/2/1).

HPC ref He02 (SOAS archive catalogue reference: PP MS 82/2/3).

HPC ref He03 (SOAS archive catalogue reference: PP MS 82/2/2).

HPC ref He-s (SOAS archive catalogue references: PP MS 82/2/4 and PP MS 82/2/5).

School of Oriental and African Studies, London.


Henderson collection

David Marr Henderson M.I.C.E. (1840-1923), a noted lighthouse designer, worked for the Imperial Maritime Customs Service from 1869 to 1898, becoming Engineer-in-Chief.  The photographs of lighthouses are held with the Henderson papers by the Institution of Civil Engineers, London.  105 loose photographs (DH-s).

Mostly privately owned.


Hughes collection

Thomas Francis Hughes served in the Imperial Maritime Customs from 1865 until 1902.  His first wife, Julia (née Grimani) was (as Mrs Thomas Francis Hughes), the author of Among the Sons of Han (1881).  The family photographs here come from the period of his second marriage, to Margaret Eugenie (née Dever). 122 images from an album (Hu01) and some loose photographs (Hu-s).  Xiamen, Yingkou, and especially Jiujiang.

Owned privately.


Hulme collection

Only part of this collection is online so far - more to come (Four albums: OH01, OH02, OH03 and OH04, plus loose prints OH-s).  Early 1900s. 

Owned privately.


Johns collection

99 images, of Dairen, Chefoo and Shanghai especially.  From two albums (Jo01 and Jo02), and some loose prints Jo-s.  The albums were owned by Thomas Joseph Rowett Johns (1882-1947), who served in the Chinese Maritime Customs Service from 1903 to 1937, in revenue cruisers.  It is likely that Johns took many of the photographs in this collection.

Owned privately.


Kiki de Chaffoy collection

9 images relating to Louis de San, a Belgian diplomat, who established an Asian gliding record in 1940, by flying for 4 hours and 44 minutes in a 'Rhônsperber' glider, owned by the Chinese Aeronautical Affairs Commission (航空委员会). (KC-s).

Owned privately.


Love collection

Nearly 400 images online so far.  BL01, BL02, BL03, BL04, BL05, BL-m, BL-n and BL-s.  Highlights include BL01 (a commemorative album for visit of the Duke and Duchess of Connaught to Shanghai in April 1890) and BL-n (a set of glass copy negatives telling the story of the Boxer Uprising).

Billie Love Historical Collection.


National Archives collection

Currently 457 images from 7 albums (NA01, NA02, NA03, NA04, NA05, NA06, NA09, and part of NA07 ) are online.  Boxer Uprising, Beijing, Tianjin, Shandong province. See the introduction: http://hpc.vcea.net/Collection/National_Archives.  More to come.

The National Archives, London.


Oswald family collection

John Charles Oswald was tea planter and race horse owner.  The Oswald family photographs include early ‘instantaneous’ snapshot photography, as well as some fine professionally produced photos.  486 images from 5 albums (Os01, Os02, Os03, Os04, Os05) and loose prints (Os-s). Xiamen, Fuzhou, 1880s-1890s.  SOAS archive catalogue reference number: MS 380876.

School of Oriental and African Studies, London.


Palmer collection

William Atwell Lynch Palmer served in the Shanghai Municipal Police, and subsequently worked for the Asiatic Petroleum Company. 144 images in two albums (Pa01 and Pa02) and loose photographs (Pa-s). 1920s and 30s.

Owned privately.


Parbury collection

Shansi province, 1907-15.  65 photographs (LP01).

Owned privately.


Peck collection

Harold Edwards Peck was a policeman in the Shanghai Municipal Police. 120 images from an album (Pe01) and some loose photographs (Pe-s). The photographs date from 1880s to 1910s, taken or acquired by Harold Peck.

Owned privately.


Phipps collection

234 images currently online from 4 albums (Ph01, Ph02, Ph03, Ph04) and loose prints (Ph-s). The albums were put together by Ann Phipps, a niece of the British diplomat Sir Miles Lampson (1st Baron Killearn), containing photos, documents, and ephemera - souvenirs of stays in China in 1928-29 and 1932-33.

Owned privately.


Potts collection

George Potts was a trader in Shanghai in the early 1900s and later became the Chairman of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. 93 images from an album (Po01). 1900-1910s.

Owned privately.


Riddle collection

George Riddle was a co-director of Inniss & Riddle, Shanghai. 2 images (Ri-s). 1910s.

Owned privately.


Rosholt collection

A few images currently online, from negatives.  Many Shanghai, 1937.  Many more to come.

Owned privately.


Rue collection

138 images: Hong Kong especially, also Canton, Shanghai and Peking.  One loose post card (HR-s01) and an album (HR01), which is inscribed “Henry Rue. 46 Brougham Street. Photographs from China 1910 to 1913”.  Precious little is known about Henry Rue – it seems he took many of these photographs.  SOAS archive catalogue reference number: MS 381233.

School of Oriental and African Studies, London.


Ruxton family collection

Colonel R.M.C. Ruxton was variously in the British ‘Weihaiwei’ or First Chinese Regiment, the Salt Gabelle (the Chinese state salt monopoly), and the Chinese Ministry of Finance, where he served as a Financial Advisor.  The collection includes Cassels family photographs. 346 images from two albums (Ru01 and Ru02) and loose prints (Ru-s).  SOAS archive catalogue reference number: MS 381142.

School of Oriental and African Studies, London.


Scherr collection

1 photograph (SJ-s02), Beijing, c.1920.

Owned privately.


Shakee-Shaji collection

The Shakee/Shaji images document events in Canton on 23 June 1925, in the aftermath of the May 30th shootings in Shanghai. 14 images (Sh-s).

Owned privately.


Shanghai Municipal Council collection

16 images (SC-s). Shanghai, 1870s-1940s.

Owned privately.


Shanghai Municipal Police collection

17 images (SP-s).  Shanghai, 1900s-1930s. (See also the Shanghai Municipal Police section: http://hpc.vcea.net/Collection/Shanghai).

Owned privately.


Sinton collection

J.R. Sinton, missionary in China. 30 images (Si-s), 1900s-1930s.

Owned privately.


Stevens collection

A small collection which includes three formal group photographs of Shanghai policemen, 1930s (St-s).

Owned privately.


Sullivan collection

John Sullivan, a policeman in the Shanghai Municipal Police. 79 images from an album (Su01).  1910s.

Owned privately.


Swire collection

Photographs taken by G. Warren Swire (1883-1949) between 1907 and the 1940s. 1,970 images, nearly all from celluloid negatives in thirty-two annotated albums (Sw01 through to Sw32), two images from glass plate negatives (Sw-n) and one from a print (Sw-s). See http://hpc.vcea.net/Collection/Warren_Swire.  The original negatives are held in the archive at SOAS.

John Swire & Sons Ltd.


Taylor collection

Edgar Taylor was in the Royal Navy, and spent 6 months in Hankow (now Wuhan), whilst on HMS Eagle.  He was also in Shanghai in 1938, and in Hong Kong.  A small album of photographs (reference DM1973), once owned by Edgar Taylor, is on deposit at Special Collections, University of Bristol Library.  16 images (Ta01).

Owned privately.


Thompson collection

7 images (Th-n) from negatives. 1920s.

Owned privately.


Trobridge collection

Only two images online so far, Canton c.1921 (Tr02).

Owned privately.


University of Bristol Library collection

24 photographs from an album held in Special Collections (UB01).  1880s.

University of Bristol.


Wilkinson collection

138 images from five albums (Wi01, Wi02, Wi03 Wi04 and Wi05) and some loose photographs (Wi-s).  These are family snaps from the 1930s, as well as two albums of scenic photographs, probably purchased by Edward Edelson Wilkinson, who worked for the Asiatic Petroleum Company.

Owned privately.


Williams collection

31 images (JW-s), mostly from ‘real photograph cigarette cards’, 1900s.

Owned privately.


Young collection

11 images (Yo-s). Shanghai 1900s - 1920s.

Owned privately.



Images from books

Bk01 (3 images) from ‘Chance & Change in China’ by A.S. Roe (Heinemann, 1920).

Bk02 (5 images) from ‘Collins’ Wide World Geography Reader. Book IV. Asia’ (William Collins, c.1905).

Bk03 (8 images) from ‘Round the World from London Bridge to Charing Cross via Yokohama and Chicago’ (George Newnes, 1895).

Bk04 (66 images) from 'The Pageant of Peking' by Donald Mennie (A.S.Watson and Co., 1920).

Bk05 (16 images) from 'Shanghai' (Max Nössler & Co., c.1907).  

Bk06 (2 images) from 'The Story of Fish Street Church, Hull ' by Rev C.E. Darwent (William Andrews, 1899).

Last update on Tuesday 12 July 2016 (16:19) by  J. Carstairs

© 2012 University of Bristol - Projet Director: Robert Bickers
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