Turn of the century China
Featuring a selection of late nineteenth century and early twentieth century photographs taken in China, from archive collections in Cadbury Research Library, University of Birmingham. The images are rich in detail, and diverse in subject matter, depicting urban and rural landscapes, contemporary engineering, architecture, styles of dress, river travel, modes of transport, people at work, family portraits, missionary activity and other scenes of everyday life. They have been released to coincide with the launch of ‘From Lancashire to China: a weaver’s tale’, an exhibition telling the story of Lucy Mellodey, a cotton weaver from Lancashire who, in 1899, swapped work in the mills for nearly 30 years in China as a missionary (Muirhead Tower atrium, University of Birmingham, 1 July-16 October 2014).

Many of the photographs are shown with their original captions and place names are given using the contemporary spelling as it appears in the records. For example, Fujian is given as ‘Fukien’, Fuzhou as ‘Foochow’ (or ‘Foo-chow’), Sichuan as ‘Szechwan’ and both ‘Mienchow’ and the earlier form, ‘Miencheo’, are used. Contemporary spellings and captions are given in speech marks. Biographical detail concerning named missionaries was taken from Cadbury Research Library archive catalogues and the 'Register of Missionaries (Clerical, Lay and Female), and Native Clergy, from 1804-1904' London: Church Missionary Society, [1904].

The majority of photographs are from the collections of ‘Church Missionary Society Unofficial Papers’ and are reproduced with the kind permission of the Church Mission Society (formerly Church Missionary Society), Oxford (www.cms-uk.org). The exhibition also includes images from the ‘Papers of J. Preston Maxwell’. Please note that photographs are not to be reproduced without permission.

For further information about the collections, and the Lancashire to China exhibition, email Cadbury Research Library at special-collections@bham.ac.uk or go to www.birmingham.ac.uk/crl
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