Four volumes of Letter Copying Books relating to Shipping in Shanghai.

GRANT Peter Ventnor (1892.)


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4to. Contemporary half calf, red morocco labels on spine, rubbed edges and some wear. Carbon manuscript, light browning, several letters torn and mis-folded with loss (confined to the first and the last 2ff. of vol. 1, first and the last 3ff. of vol. 2, as well as the first 6ff. of vol. 4), but overall in very good condition. 250; 500; 500; 153ff. Shanghai, August 1870-February 

Peter Ventnor Grant (1841-1894) was the director of the shipbuilding company Boyd & Co. which had been founded in the Hongkou district of Shanghai in 1862. Boyd & Co. were amongst the first to provide an industrial-scale shipyard in Shanghai and their dry docks were able to carry out repairs, refurbish, as well as build new ships. This archive provides a wealth of information on the day-to day running of the firm with detailed information on the costs, financing, mortgages and shares of the company as well as the movements of ships in and out of the docks. In addition to personal (a letter to his daughter Alice: "I have received more than 100 Xmas cards this year..." & lists of guests invited to a water picnic in Shanghai) and business matters ("Rough memo of assets & liabilities, May 19th 1871"), Grant's letters contain numerous references to contemporary events such as the news of the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian War as well as the Tientsin massacre in June 1870 and the French blockade of Formosa during the Sino-French War (see letter for 5 November 1884).

Another important side of the business was buying & selling ships: On January 11th, 1872 Grant writes: "I bought the wreck of the steamer tuck "Fuh-le" a week ago as she lies stranded on Blackorall Island 18 miles from Chinhae for Taels 155... She is dry at low water I  believe & perfectly sheltered from all weather & I believe can be taken away after the hole in her fore compartment is closed up very easily. If she does we shall do very well by her...". In April he sold his quarter share for Taels 11,000. Grant evidently also had good relations with the Chinese authorities ("Old Kung has been very useful to us and the arrangement we made with Li Hung Chang has turned out to be a valuable one"). 

These copying books were produced by Waterlow & Sons of London and printed directions for use are pasted on verso of the front board in vol. 1. 

Stock Code: 241016

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