Holts in Shanghai

iain48
13th January 2008, 16:47
I intend to visit Shanghai later this year and thought that it would be interesting to see where their berths were,(did they always go to Holts Wharf) was there an office in the city? Locations of these if anyone knows woulds be appreciated. I know everything has changed but approximate locations would be good

Dave Woods
13th January 2008, 17:44
Iain,
I did a Google search for Holts Wharf Shanghai and came across the following "In 1940, Oliver secured employment with the Alfred Holt Company, the agents for the Blue Funnel Line in the Far East, and the remaining family moved to an apartment in the Holts wharf complex, across the Whangpoo River from the Bund."
I was in Shanghai in the mid 90’s and spend a week just North of the Bund, and last year was stationed on a Cable Ship south of Shanghai and went past the Bund quite a few times in both directions. In the 90’s the land opposite the Bund was almost derelict, with only the “Onion Tower” standing, now there are skyscrapers as far as the eye can see, and the waterfront has been totally rebuilt. On the Bund side of the river massive redevelopment has take place both above and below the Bund, although the Bund has remained almost unscathed.
I hope this helps your search, if you do venture into town, pay a visit to the Long Bar where you may find some of the Cable Ship crew on a Saturday for sundowners.

Bill Davies
13th January 2008, 19:26
Well Iain48,
I was unaware that Holt's had a specific berth in Shanghai. I was last in Shanghai in 57. The only place we were allowed to visit was the Friendship Store which had a Bar reputed to be the longest in the World. Beer was superb 'Tsingtao'.
FYG I was in Hong Kong last January and Holts Wharf is a mere veranda for those wanting to watch the nightly Firework display.Could not find any of the old haunts.
All nostalgia........if we are allowed!

Bill

Trevorw
14th January 2008, 00:16
Holts Wharf was in Kowloon, not Shangahi. When we went to Shanghai, we used to tie up just East of the Bund, about ten minutes away from the Friendship Club.

Trevorw
14th January 2008, 00:18
Well Iain48,
I was unaware that Holt's had a specific berth in Shanghai. I was last in Shanghai in 57. The only place we were allowed to visit was the Friendship Store which had a Bar reputed to be the longest in the World. Beer was superb 'Tsingtao'.
FYG I was in Hong Kong last January and Holts Wharf is a mere veranda for those wanting to watch the nightly Firework display.Could not find any of the old haunts.
All nostalgia........if we are allowed!

Bill

Talking of long bars! Does anyone remember the Long Bar at Raffles in Singapore? It was compulsory to throw your "monkey nut" shells on the floor as you downed your Singapore Slings!!

Dave Woods
14th January 2008, 12:07
Talking of long bars! Does anyone remember the Long Bar at Raffles in Singapore? It was compulsory to throw your "monkey nut" shells on the floor as you downed your Singapore Slings!!

Trevorw,

You will no doubt remember Raffles bar on the ground floor, it was moved some years ago to the first floor. The scattering of monkey nuts is still compulsory.

Orbitaman
14th January 2008, 12:22
According to the history of Raffles Hotel, the long bar has been located in at least seven different locations around the hotel!

Steve Farrow
14th January 2008, 15:13
Well Iain48,
I was unaware that Holt's had a specific berth in Shanghai. I was last in Shanghai in 57. The only place we were allowed to visit was the Friendship Store which had a Bar reputed to be the longest in the World. Beer was superb 'Tsingtao'.
FYG I was in Hong Kong last January and Holts Wharf is a mere veranda for those wanting to watch the nightly Firework display.Could not find any of the old haunts.
All nostalgia........if we are allowed!

Bill
I went for a drink in the 'Longest bar' in 1966. The Nowegian sailors were fighting with some of the British crews. It was a scene from Dodge City! Above the bar a sign read "British and US imperilalists are natural aggressors."!
It seemed apt at the time.
Steve

Bill Davies
14th January 2008, 20:09
Steve,

Best keep quiet about that as there is a good chance they were a Blue Funnel crowd and as we all know they were always on their best behaviour when ashore. Conversely, things hadn't changed in 9 years.

Brgds

Bill

Hugh Ferguson
14th January 2008, 21:29
My two times in Shanghai occurred in 1947, and again in 1948. Both trips found us alongside at Holt's Wharf. I was a brand new 4th mate in the brand new AGAPENOR, and the outstanding memory of that was when discharging heavy lifts consisting of very long steel girders one at a time.
They all got landed safely on the wharf and we were left wondering when they would be cleared for other cargo to be landed. We didn't have long to wait, for totally unexpectedly about 200 coolies came trotting around the go-down, each equiped with a length of rope and a bamboo pole. They aligned themselves along each side of a girder passed their lines under the girder to their oppo, hitched the ends on to their poles with some kind of an adjustable hitch and when all were ready a command was given for a test lift. Up went the girder as if it weighed no more than a feather and down again: various adjustments were very quickly and expertly made to the lengths of their slings and up went the girder again.
Now, some kind of chant began in order to get the lads into the necessary rhythm and the girder began to move; very slowly to start with but rapidly gathering pace until, I swear, the last we saw of it, it was moving away at almost a run. Incredible!!!
My second visit was as 3rd mate in the coal burning ELPENOR (Freddie Squires, 2nd mate) and all I can recall about that trip was never ending thick fog off Hong Kong, and all the way to Shanghai without radar.
On arrival and within minutes of coming off stand-bye, and before the gangway had been rigged, we had been invaded by a mass of girls who had swarmed aboard up ropes from the river side-we sent them along aft!

Bill Davies
15th January 2008, 11:34
Hugh,

And just when it was getting interesting!

Brgds
Bill

MikeK
15th January 2008, 13:54
Last time I was there we were also invaded but unfortunately not by girls, or if there were girls amongst the hordes of chanting Red Guards they were indistinguishable !! When we walked to the Seamen's Club that night we nearly missed it as all the buildings on the Bund were covered in bamboo scaffolding with men rough - chiselling off any carvings with western connections - eg the Bank of Shanghai had Viking ship prows on the corners which were uncerimoniously hacked off onto the street below. Other daft things they objected to for instance, were western shoes. As we walked along the hordes parted in front of us and they all stared at our feet ! We were mystified until we met some of our Chinese crew (Jardines) they also got the shoe treatment but they had to take their shoes off, walk in stocking feet to the Seamens club where they had to buy those 'V' fronted Chinese slippers and only then allowed to go on their way to see relatives !
Not happy memories, for sure !
Mike

MikeK
17th January 2008, 10:25
Sorry Iain48- it seems I am guilty of hijacking your post with the reminiscing !
I might be wrong but Jardines berth was just down (?) river from the Bund, past the British Embassy and over a tributary river. All the other berths tended to be in the same area as that was where the guey lohs (spelling ?) were allowed to set up their trading posts. I was on the other bank as apprentice on a Cardiff tramp in the early 60's and I don't remember many berths on that side.
regards
Mike

Hugh Ferguson
17th January 2008, 11:04
Gwai Loes-meaning "White Ghosts". Not foreign devils as some believe!

MikeK
17th January 2008, 13:35
Gwai Loes-meaning "White Ghosts". Not foreign devils as some believe!

Thanks Hugh (Thumb)
Mike

Dave Woods
17th January 2008, 17:04
Gents,

I have just had a look on Google Earth, it is a couple of years out of date. There are lots of photographs of the Bund and surrounding area. It would be well worth a look to get your bearings.

MikeK
17th January 2008, 19:43
Thanks for the tip Dave I had forgotten all about Google. Jardines berth is still there, just downriver from the Bund, over the Waibaidu Bridge. The other berths were on the long whitish stretch downriver from there. Certainly changed a bit in the last few years eh !

Mike

Dave Woods
17th January 2008, 21:02
I have just downloaded three photo's in the Ports and Harbours section showning the area near the Bund. I hope this helps.

R651400
24th January 2008, 18:49
I intend to visit Shanghai later this year and thought that it would be interesting to see where their berths were,(did they always go to Holts Wharf) was there an office in the city? Locations of these if anyone knows woulds be appreciated. I know everything has changed but approximate locations would be good
With all due respect, Blue Funnel's entry to Shanghai and Chinese coastal trade was due to their acquisition of Elder Dempster who previously had bought Glen and Shire Line ie McGregor Gow and Holland whose magnificent 1930's Glen Line office building is still (and long may it remain so) part of the Bund sky line.

Old Timer
2nd April 2008, 14:44
Yes there certainly was a Holts Wharf in Shanghai and it was oposite the Bund. We were tied up there on the Old Theseus/1 in 46. I also remember the girls rushing aboard the moment the gang way touched down, some of them looked no older than 12. I beleive this was the last voyage of the Old Theseus before she went to the breakers in Preston and went aground in the River Ribble on the way there.

jimmys
2nd April 2008, 15:49
I was at Holts Wharf in Pootung, Shanghai when I sailed on The M Boats in the mid sixties. The Red Guards were on the go, not a nice time.

With all due respect history states Holts purchased the land at Pootung for the wharf in 1906.
Glen Line was formed in 1910 and came under Elder Dempster control in 1911.

I dont know when Holts started in the China trade but certainly before 1906.

regards

Bill Davies
2nd April 2008, 16:28
Jimmys,

Don't recall a Holts Wharf in Shanghai and i was last there in 'the china' in 59/60.
Holt's Wharf, Kowloon which we all know.
'M' Class..... wow McGregor hatches. Went around the land in one. Last trip AB before Second Mates (FG).

Bill

R651400
2nd April 2008, 17:53
I was at Holts Wharf in Pootung, Shanghai when I sailed on The M Boats in the mid sixties. The Red Guards were on the go, not a nice time.
With all due respect history states Holts purchased the land at Pootung for the wharf in 1906.
Glen Line was formed in 1910 and came under Elder Dempster control in 1911.
I dont know when Holts started in the China trade but certainly before 1906.
regards

...though this is the first mention for me of Holts Wharf Shanghai, you're definitely correct Jimmys.

http://navy.memorieshop.com/Adair/Cruise-Book/Pootung.html

Regards

Pat Kennedy
2nd April 2008, 19:11
I was there in 1959 as a deck boy on the Achilles.
They had all hands muster on the boat deck about four times a day, counted us six or seven times and then made us stand there for an hour while they ransacked all the cabins.
The whole six days we were there, we were harangued by loudspeakers set on poles on the quayside, in Chinese!
All cameras were confiscated for the duration of our stay, and the only shore leave allowed was in a rickety old bus to the seamen's mission where the only entertainment was a mechanical piano which was broken.
I did however see a building there which was a twin of the Liver Buildings in Liverpool. Is that still there, does anyone know?

R651400
3rd April 2008, 10:39
With all due respect history states Holts purchased the land at Pootung for the wharf in 1906.
Glen Line was formed in 1910 and came under Elder Dempster control in 1911.
regards

All the companies below started Far East trading in the 19th century, the significant date for all 1869 when the Suez canal opened.
Blue Funnel owned by Alfred Holt.
Shire Line owned by Captain Thomas Jenkins
Glen Line owned by Allan Carsewell Gow and James McGregor
Other companies with their finger in the Far East pie at this time
Ben Line owned by William Thomson
Castle Line owned by Thomas Skinner.
These appear to be the principal players, others out of Hong Kong,
Jardine Matheson, Butterfield and Swire and perhaps more.

Regards

Bill Davies
3rd April 2008, 10:45
Pat,
Your post reflects much of what I remember. I cannot remember any reference being made to a Holts Wharf in Shanghai. I'm sure jimmys is right and there is always someone who will enlighten us all.
Brgds
Bill

jimmys
3rd April 2008, 11:19
I did a number of trips up to Shanghai and we went to different berths. One was Jardines as mentioned above and the other was China Steam or a name like that. They were all in the same area across from the Bund.
A Master was taken from a Blue Funnel ship around that time and imprisoned, a Second Mate was punished for supposedly taking pictures.
What Pat says above was still the norm in the mid sixties.
People from the embassy in Hong Kong were approaching the crews for info and pictures and this was fanning the problems. The Chinese did not like it.
It was uncomfortable all round.

regards

gdynia
3rd April 2008, 11:29
On following web page theres a bit info on Holts Wharf in Shanghai

http://www.captives-of-empire.com/wst_page2.php

R651400
3rd April 2008, 13:20
A Master was taken from a Blue Funnel ship around that time and imprisoned, a Second Mate was punished for supposedly taking pictures.

The detentions have been mentioned before, Capt J.C. Rae and 2/O Peter Crouch but no mention of what ship.

http://www.shipsnostalgia.com/showthread.php?t=10570&highlight=Peter+Crouch

I recall circa '67 the Demodocus was in trouble with the Chinese authorities.

Regards

jimmys
3rd April 2008, 15:15
I think Capt. JC. Ray was from the Perseus but I am nearly certain the Second Mate was a different ship and a different incident.

I was there in mid 1966 and we were in trouble with them in Hsinkiang. It was political stuff with the Red Guards, they were not targeting individuals.I think persons in Blue Funnel had become involved in low level spying and it was fanning the problem. A lot of ships were having trouble. My radio an Eddystone was confiscated along with other belongings of other crew members. The company replaced it. It was being kept quiet and low key I think again for political reasons.

There was a company running grain bulkers from Canada who had all Geordie crews and they were not being bothered. We used to meet them about the coast.

regards

Orbitaman
3rd April 2008, 15:32
I met Peter Crouch while he was working for 'Petroship' in Saudi Arabia. His version of the story involved himself and the 3rd Mate. The 3rd mate admitted his 'guilt' and was released, while he refused and spent a number of years appreciating the hospitality of his jailers.

R651400
4th April 2008, 08:21
The particular incident re Demodocus comes to mind because the press mentioned the ship was brought out and probably home by the Mate named Brunskill who was 3/O on my last Bluey.

Lemschout
4th April 2008, 09:27
Hoping to find merchant ships near the Bund is really nostalgy. All commercial berth for Ocean shipping are now located on the ChangJiang (Yangtze), and in the near future large vessels will call at a new port located in the middle of Hangzhou bay, linked to Luchaogang in the Shanghai municipality by a 25km long causeway.

Up to one year ago, it was still possible to see occasionally a commercial ship on the Huangpu river as it was proceeding to or from a shipyard, but these will also have to move north in order to leave some room for the world's fair of 2010.

R651400
5th April 2008, 09:51
Further to above, just received confirmation via friend of Carl Bent 1st R/O on the Demodocus, the same ship/incident involving Peter Crouch who was 2/0. The entire ship had a very hard time especially the mate and 4/0 for being seen to make notes in their cargo books.
If J C Rae was skipper of the Perseus, would Shanghai or any mainland Chinese port be part of the "P" boat run at this time?

Pat Kennedy
5th April 2008, 14:51
I think you are correct, those "P" boats did not touch mainland China at that time, Hong Kong, Manila, Japan and back.
ref Demodocus, I heard a story that she almost capsized while discharging at Singapore, when, by chance there where heavy lifts on the Yardarm derricks of all hatches at the same time. has anyone else heard this/
Pat

Trader
5th April 2008, 19:26
Jimmys,

Don't recall a Holts Wharf in Shanghai and i was last there in 'the china' in 59/60.
Holt's Wharf, Kowloon which we all know.


Bill

I was in Shanghai in 1954 on the Astyanax and remember passing Holts wharf as it was painted on the roof of the warehouse in big letters HOLTS. However we didn't load or discharge there I think that we were on the other side of the river.
We were not allowed shore leave by the "old man" Capt. Godfrey Brown. Apparently the trip before I joined he had been arrested by the Chinese when he had to go ashore to bail out some of the crew who had been misbehaving. He wasn't kept in for long but didn't want a repeat performance so he banned all shore leave whilst we were there on the next trip.

Trader.

Bill Davies
5th April 2008, 20:30
Pat,
To my knowledge the 'P' Class never called at mainland China.

Trader,
That makes me feel a little better as in my 6 years in 'the China' I cannot remember berthing at such a place in Shanghai.

Bill

Bill

R651400
6th April 2008, 11:16
I think you are correct, those "P" boats did not touch mainland China at that time, Hong Kong, Manila, Japan and back.
ref Demodocus, I heard a story that she almost capsized while discharging at Singapore, when, by chance there where heavy lifts on the Yardarm derricks of all hatches at the same time. has anyone else heard this/
Pat
Pat not sure about the Demodocus incident above but will page the oracle and see if I can find something out.
Regarding the "P" class, even towards the end they still competed fair and square with the latest Ben Line competition. My records show that not one "P" or "H" class vessel was sold out of the company. Giving a very approximate average of 22 years service each surely must be something of a record.

Pat Kennedy
6th April 2008, 18:56
You are right, they were great ships, Blue Funnel's fast movers. two of them were built in Cammel Laird, Peleus, and I think, Pyhrrus. I often wondered why Holts didn't build more ships in Lairds, it was right on their doorstep, but according to a foreman shipwright I knew, it was Lairds who wanted nothing more to do with Holts, apparently they were so pernickety, they were more trouble than it was worth.

Tai Pan
10th April 2008, 15:21
Holts had their own wharf in Shanghai. it was on the Port side of the river going upstream, just before the left hand bend in the river that would have the Bund on its starboard side. apparently the food was excellent. I saw it when in Shanghai on Glengarry, but it was deserted and rundown. we went alongside on the opposite bank just across from what was holts wharf.