JG Ballard in Shanghai

Empire Of The Son:
Exploring JG Ballard's Shanghai Home & Lunghua

It all started in January, 2006. That was when I met Canadian Englit Professor Peter Brigg. We hit it off -- one Ballardian to another -- and at that first meeting he kindly gave me five pictures he had taken of the Shanghai Ballard home, and photocopies of three letters from JGB about his Shanghai roots.Intrigued, I asked Peter how he came to have taken these photos. His explanation set me off on a new area of JGB research which culminated in my visiting his childhood home and other Ballardian areas of Shanghai on September 18, 2007. This is the history of all the zany steps that journey took, complete with photos, graphics, a short video and a number of maps. As well as a number of letters Ballard wrote about his home.

JG Ballard's Home Destroyed by Renovations

In the autumn of 2009 a few trusty spies visiting and living in Shanghai noted the restaurant SH508 had shut down and crews were assembling on the site. Over the next 10 months what remained of the house Ballard grew up in was gutted and rebuilt into a brand new brick structure, possibly a large private home. This section includes emails and photographs depicting the carnage as it progresses. Thanks to Andy Best, Dan Butterfield, Nick Darsley and George Cox.

JG Ballard's Shanghai Neighbourhood

In September of 2007 Shanghai resident Andy Best did a complete tour of the neighbourhood around Amherst Avenue, taking pictures of the old mansions, schools, colleges and cathedrals which would have existed during the 1930s when the young Jim Ballard roamed this area. He took 120 pictures and drew two great maps.

JG Ballard's Shanghai Haunts

After visiting JG Ballard's Shanghai home, I set out to take in other areas of the city mentioned either in Ballard interviews, letters and novels. Here's a collection of pictures taken by myself and Andy Best showing The Bund, Pudong, People's Park, the Lunghua Pagoda, Lunghua Airport, Country Clubs, the Peace Hotel and more. Comes complete with a short video.

Memories Of The Sparse Age: The Recollections of Lunghwa Civilian Assembly Camp Internees

A number of British nationals all survived incarceration at the hands of the Japanese in the Lunghwa Civilian Assembly Centre outside of Shanghai from 1943 to 1945. They shared the camp with the young JG Ballard and his parents, but only a few make reference to Empire Of The Sun. Still, fascinating stuff.

How I Salvaged a Brick from Lunghua's G Block and New Pictures of Shanghai High School

This all started in the Fall of 2008. I was cruising the web, following up on some JGB alerts, and I came across a blog written by one Greg Baines, a resident teacher at Shanghai High School, formerly known as Lunghua Civilian Assembly Centre...

An Hour with Desmond Power

In July of 2012 I met with Lunghua Civilian Assembly Centre internee Desmond Power at his home in Vancouver, Canada. Desmond was born in Tientsin, Hopei Province, China, in 1923, and by 1937 Desmond and his family were caught up in the Japanese invasion of China. By 1942 Desmond had missed all his chances to leave China via Shanghai, and like so many other "foreign devils", he was collected and interned at a number of Japanese civilian camps, including Lunghua.