Shanghai reopens Bund after 280m pound restoration

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Shanghai's Bund, once known as the "Wall Street of Asia", will reopen on Sunday after a painstaking £280 million two-year restoration to bring back a touch of its 1930's glamour.

The stately waterfront, alongside the muddy Huangpu river, was built by the British and was the hub of colonial life in Shanghai until the Japanese invaded the city in 1941.

Tons of stone were shipped in from Hong Kong, marble from England and Italy and bronzework for the facades of some buildings from Somerset.

The bells in the Custom House building, at No13, were forged in Loughborough. The grand buildings were home to the Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank and other financial and trading houses.

Visitors stepping off the boat in Shanghai were often surprised by the appearance of the Bund, which Noel Coward observed was "a cross between Huddersfield and Brussels".

The Western appearance of the waterfront was seen as a humiliating reminder of China's subjugation to foreign powers when Mao Tse-tung came to power in 1949 and the tenants of the Bund were swiftly purged.

Now, however, as Shanghai attempts to relaunch itself as one of the world's great financial centres, the Bund is back in the spotlight....

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