The Bund was the most famous and spectacular street in Asia in the days of Old Shanghai, a symbol of its central role as a financial centre and the headquarters of all the major firms involved in the China trade.
When the foreigners arrived, it was a towing path with a wide foreshore, covered or uncovered according to the state of the tide and its wide open space was secured, not from any aesthetic sense, but because of the necessity of leaving a path for the trackers. From time immemorial, trackers had used the tow path along the shore of the Whangpoo River and the Chinese authorities in the first Land Regulations issued by them reserved this right. A space of of 30 English feet was to be reserved between buildings erected on the foreshore and the edge of the river. Foreigners, therefore, when putting up their buildings on river lots, drove in piles to that distance in front of each lot, and filled it in.
The last of the old bungalows facing The Bund, that belonging to Dent and Company, on the corner with Kiukiang Road, was sold and torn down in 1915.
starting from Yanan Lu to the south and working north
Building No. 1: McBain Building, also the Asiatic Petroleum Building, built in Renaissance style in 1915. Later became the Shell Building.
No. 3: The Shanghai Club, built in 1909 for an English club which had been founded 1865. It was said that it had the longest bar in the world, or at least Asia. Reputedly it was 34 metres (111 ft) long. A part of the bar still remains in the Seamen's Club upstairs. Today it is the Dong Feng Hotel. The former bar is now a Kentucky Fried Chicken Restaurant.
No. 4: Union Assurance Company of Canton Building, built in 1915, used by the Mercantile Bank of India, Ltd.
No. 5: The Nisshin Kisen Kaisha Building (at the corner of Fuzhou Lu), erected in 1925 for the Japanese shipping line which plied the Chinese coast and the Yangtse.
No. 6: In the early 1930s home of the British P&O Banking Corp. It was later used by the Shanghai Volunteer Corps as billets for its Russian soldiers until the Japanese invasion in 1937. Then it became the Central Bank of China, Trust Department.
No. 7: Commercial Bank of China.
No. 8: A Chinese office building (Tong Yok Kung or Tung Tzue Shing).
No. 9: This structure housed the steamship lines of China Merchant Steamship navigation Co., States Steamship Co., and American Pioneer Line.
No. 12: The Hongkong and Shanghai Bank. Opened in 1925. Mentioned in the Shanghai Guide of that year as the largest bank of the Far East. In front of the building was a pair of magnificent bronze lions, similar to those in front of the Hongkong Bank in Hong Kong.
No. 13: Customs House, built in 1927. The entrance hall has mosaics of Chinese junks. Opposite it, on the river's edge, was the customs jetty where all customs clearances were done. The former building, from 1843, in the English Tudor style, was demolished and the old clock, 'Big Ching", was relocated into the tower of the new structure.
No. 14: Bank of Communications, on the corner of Hankou Lu. Until 1914 this was the German Asiatic Bank. Now the building houses the Federation of Labour Unions.
No. 15: Until 1926, the Russo-Asiatic Bank, then the Central Bank of China. There used to be sculptured heads under the eaves, but during the Cultural Revolution they were destroyed by the Red Guards.
No. 16: Bank of Taiwan (Japanese). Behind it, on Jiujiang Lu, were the Mitsubishi Building and the Somitoma Building, both Japanese.
No. 17: Home of the North China Daily News, plus a number of printing companies and the Americasn Asiatic Underwriters Savings Bank.
No. 18: Chartered Bank Building, housing the Chartered Bank of India, Australia and China.
No. 19: Palace Hotel, built in 1906. It had a legendary roof garden destroyed by fire in 1914. Today it is the south wing of the Peace Hotel.
A Japanese tourist view of the Bund in the late 1930's