Presbyterian Archives Research Centre

Photo Gallery No 9 :

"A Tour of Old Canton"


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Canton Map 3


Moving north east, the yet to be formed "Bund" and the Roman Catholic Cathedral now lie at lower bottom. The Temple of the 5 Genii lies at left of centre, the Gaol (marked "P") slightly to the right of the temple, and the Canton execution ground at lower right.

"Gambling Abolition Parade"

The Bund absolutely packed for the gambling abolition procession, 30th March 1911.

With the overthrow of the Imperial Ts'ing Dynasty, the people now felt they had 'a voice'. This procession appears to have been a strong response to the Provincial Assembly's decision (influenced by a powerful minority) to prohibit lotteries and make all gambling illegal.


Gambling Abolition Parade



The Bund in Flood


"The Bund in Flood"

In 1915, the Pearl River which normally flowed 15 feet below the level of the Bund, rose to 2 feet above the Bund. This was accompanied by very serious flooding and damage to settlements in the Province which were built close to rivers and waterways.

"The Bund"

Another scene, taken in 1915, shows the busy Bund fronted by commercial buildings housing shops at street level. Rickshaws, the ideal form of transport to negotiate Canton's otherwise narrow streets, ply their trade.

A visitor to Canton compared the busy street scenes and the constant press of people to "Sydney given over to summer sales".


The Bund



Canton Skyline


"Canton Rooftops & Roman Catholic Cathedral"

Taken in July 1906, the distinctive and traditional Chinese rooftops contrast sharply with the towering Roman Catholic Cathedral, with a backdrop of the White Cloud Mountain.

"Roman Catholic Cathedral"

Built from 1863 to 1888, this towering Gothic church, the largest in China, has been reopened and is now known as the Shishi Holy Heart Cathedral. To the Cantonese, this towering structure had originally only served to emphasize "political intrigue and French avarice rather than peace and goodwill".


Catholic Cathedral



Method of Punishing a Thief


"Method of Punishing a Thief "

This photo, taken in June 1906, is of a man caught stealing. He has been forced to humiliatingly sit outside the scene of his crime for several hours wearing a wooden collar on which the nature of his crime is written. Later he was taken to prison. A man standing guard is not shown in the image.

"Inmates of Canton Gaol"

A guard in foreground pictured with 13 inmates, all shackled together with leg chains. Some may have been jailed for robbery which was then rife. The fate of almost all robbers, if guilty of murder, was execution by beheading or being tortured first by the feared "Ling Ch'ih" which ultimately lead to an often prolonged & agonizing death.

"[the robbers] are normally well armed... Compared with robbers in some districts, however, the [local] ones are gentlemen. As a rule they merely require your money or your life, not your money and your life. But if the former is not forthcoming, little mercy is shown."


Inmates of Canton Gaol



Temple of the 500 Genii


"Temple of the 5 Genii"

Taken in 1915, this image shows the five idols with their long beards in the smaller Buddhist Temple of the 5 Genii.

"Hat & Shoe Stall"

Plying his wares at a pavement stall, this street seller waits for prospective customers.

"They are quick and alert. Their skill at driving a bargain may be gauged from a common saying that when the Cantonese enters, the Aberdonian [traditionally famed for being miserly] had better retire".


Hat & Shoe Stall



Canal Scene, Canton


"Canal Scene, Canton"

A rustic and peaceful scene of houseboats on a canal running though a suburb of Canton. Taken July 1906.

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