More moderns, in Tianjin

Chinese Customs staff at Tianjin, 1905, Hedgeland Collection he01-158

A group shot probably taken by Customs officer, Briton Reginald F.C. Hedgeland, in 1905 in the northern port city of Tianjin. (Perhaps that is his uniform cap, balanced on the wooden frame on the right). Unusually well-educated for the Customs (very few of the British staff had been to university), Hedgeland joined in 1897, and served until 1930. He served in Tianjin between 1903-06. Hedgeland’s albums and papers are preserved in the School of Oriental and African Studies Special Collections. The men are none of them dressed in Western-style clothing (but that would start to be case soon after this), but two of them show how very ‘untraditional’ China was in this transitional period between the Boxer uprising of 1900 and the revolution of 1911. One man clutches a tree branch endeavouring to stay still and upright on his bicycle, and at the far left another is smoking a cigarette.

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