The Remembering Shanghai Walking Tour

The Da Vinci Code Walking Tour in Paris may have started the book walk trend, but history buffs in Shanghai have enthusiastically taken it up, and I’m tickled to report that Remembering Shanghai sites have been included in several Shanghai walking tours.


The Historic Shanghai Book Club visiting what was once the Sun family home.

I joined Patrick Cranley and Tina Kanagaratnam of Historic Shanghai on the inaugural Remembering Shanghai tour back in March 2018 (to read about that tour, click here)—it was great fun for me to read excerpts from the book as we stood at each of the sites. This April, Historic Shanghai’s book club reviewed Remembering Shanghai, and reprised the walk and talk, followed by the book club discussion. I was delighted to join them… on Zoom, of course!


Left: The book club at Xiyuan, where my grandmother once lived, and right, along the Bund, heading for the site of my relatives’ famous bank heist!

Intrepid journalist and Shanghai history buff Duncan Hewitt brought Remembering Shanghai along on a historic walk that included St. Mary’s Hall, where my mom Isabel attended grades 10-12 in the late 1940s. Standing in front of the church, he read about Isabel’s memories, including those of the school’s legendary Deaconess Evelyn Ashcroft: “She had a tall, stately bearing, like a governess in a British film, and she wore a floor-length religious habit … She intimidated me at first, until I realized that her headpiece resembled a giant wonton.” That got a big laugh from the group!


Left, top: Deaconness Ashcroft in full habit; bottom: St. Mary’s Hall today. Right: Duncan Hewitt reading an excerpt from Remembering Shanghai.