Notes on the Geography of China: Shanghai: Shikumen to Xintiandi: Photo 3
The short answer is no; it's the work of the same big European firms--Jardine, Sassoon, Hardoon--who built the Bund and Shanghai's European monuments. Their customers in this case, however, were Chinese families fearful of civil unrest (the Taiping rebellion was a fresh memory for many). The safest place was in the European concessions. The French one, granted in 1849, began in a narrow strip north of the Chinese city and including the southern section of the Bund. It was extended west in 1900 and then dramatically so in 1914, by which time it was perhaps four times the size of the Chinese city. North of the French Concession was the International Settlement, a fusion of a British settlement along the northern Bund and an American one to its north and beyond Suzhou Creek. The amalgamation took place in 1863, and the combined settlement was enlarged in 1899, by which time it was larger than the French concession at its maximum. In modern parlance, there was a lot of prime development property here.
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