Some pics from Möller Villa, or Moller Villa as he changed his name..
After a legal argument with the Swedish and Norwegian Consulates concerning flags of convenience, Captain Nils declared himself a citizen of Shanghai.
He later removed the umlaut from his Swedish family name of ‘Moller‘.
He had two further families in Shanghai (with Alethea Stephenson and Hannah Clappison). The business grew and expanded into eight cities in China, and although the Mollers left Shanghai in 1950, their companies continued operating in Hong Kong into the 1990s. The family business was shipping and shipbuilding, and in Shanghai, the Moller portfolio included shipping lines, insurance, real estate and investment. In 1913, Eric Moller took over the family business and prospered. He had a steamboat that ran between Shanghai and Zhenjiang in Jiangsu Province, and, in the mid-1920s, decided to embark on the construction of a house for his big family – six children. The combination of a distinctly Scandinavian style with architectural references to ships throughout the house hints that Möller ( Moller) was probably heavily involved in the design. Eric Moller was a big horseracing fan, and the chair of the Shanghai Horse Racing Club. There is a picture at the wall of the hotel of him and Prince Charles at a race.
During the Pacific War, the house was occupied by the Japanese. Later, it housed a Kuomintang espionage agency. The Möllers left Shanghai in 1950, soon after the communists came to power. Eric Möller died in a plane crash 1954 in Singapore, when his daughter was waiting for him. His son’s Eric JR and Ralph took over the business after he died. They also owned a stud farm, White Lodge Stud, in Newmarket in England. For more than half a century, the Moller Mansion served as the headquarters of the Communist Youth League Shanghai Branch. In 1989, the Villa was listed as one of Shanghai’s protected historical buildings. In 2001, the local Hengshan Group took it over and restored the original mansion, added several garish imitation buildings in the back, and reopened it all as a hotel in May 2002. And I stayed at the hotel, Wich was a bit exciting. I had a beautiful room, but a very poor breakfast. I have been to many happenings in the villa. And I had a very interesting evening with the architectural historian Tess Johnston in the villa. Just after the reopening. 2006, the hotel was “closed for repairs” while in fact it was being used as the headquarters of a corruption investigation into Shanghai’s top official, Party Secretary Chen Liangyu. The villa hotel did not reopen to guests until April 2009.
At the hotel nowadays it says that Eric Moller was British, but he originally came from southern Sweden. And my gran was married to a Moller from southern Sweden, are they related by any chance? And my granddad traveled to Shanghai when he was young.. And I lived there twice.. It’s under my skin…
Möller and his employees in 1947
This beautiful old Art Deco cinema from the 1930s at Huaihai Lu in Shanghai was designed by Czech architect C.H. Gonda. It opened on January 1, 1932 with the American movie “A Free Soul” starring Norma Shearer. It was renovated in 2003. Unfortunately it is just the outside that is still like before, the rest is not very nice. Even if it got municipal preservation status in the early nineties. (Middle Huaihai Road is also well known by its former French name Avenue Joffre, especially when you talk to some of the very old expats in Shanghai. )
ADDRESS: 870 Huaihai Zhong Lu,
near Maoming Lu
Yu Garden was first built in 1559 during the Ming Dynasty. But it took a long time to complete it. It was the largest and most prestigious garden in Shanghai. It’s been damaged a lot several times. And during the first opium war the the British army used the Huxinting Teahouse as a base of operations for several days in 1842. Since 1982 Yu Garden is a national monument.
But there is so much good food to try out! Like sweet potatoes, Jianbing (like sort of a pancake with egg, oil, spring onion..), Chinese buns, food on a stick.. There is just so much to try! I’ve tried so much really nice food, and some really terrible..
When I first moved to Shanghai, then all I talked to my Chinese neighbours about was food. What had I been eating today, what would I eat next. And it is sort of the same when I’m down in our summer house in southern Sweden. A lot of talk about food… I like it!
The name is very misleading. The market is full of interior design, art, plants, seasonal ornaments, Tea… The list is long. I for example have My favourite place for where I buy buddhas. But I actually just bought a stone fish this time. For our summer house. This is a more expensive market, because of its location. But it is so worth it.
718 Hongjing Lu, near Hongsong Lu / 虹井路718号, 近红松路 You go in through the big gate