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Hongkou Fire Station, Shanghai – Rewi Alley’s first workplace in China


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Hongkou Fire Station, Shanghai. Rewi Alley’s first workplace in Shanghai

Location:   Hongkou Fire Station, 560 WuSong Lu, Shanghai

Google Earth view:

GPS co-ordinates:    N 3115.267  E 121 28.972

Cost:  No cost

Access:   Can be viewed from the street  – there is no plaque here to Rewi Alley.

The nearest Metro station is Sichuan Road North, on Line 10.  It is a 5 minute walk to the fire station.

Buses #18, 123, 145, and 167 also pass near here.

Website:     None


This fire station was the location where Rewi started working within a week of his arrival in Shanghai on 21 April 1927.  He worked there as a fireman until 1930 when he got a job as Municipal Factory Inspector and he still worked out of the fire station 1930-1932.  

In 1932, he “graduated” from being a fireman, and he became Chief Factory Inspector in the Industrial Division of the Shanghai Municipal Council (presumably based in the City Council offices).  He also moved his abode to Building 4, 1315 Yuyuan Rd, Shanghai  [Source: Rewi Alley, An Autobiography].

Incidentally, in 2017, they still have Rewi Alley’s helmet! 

Hongkou Fire Station was built by the Municipal Council in 1915, after the Fire Dept. was set up in 1867 in the Shen Bay vicinity.   It has an area of 2660 m2, and the property covers 4400 m2.  The building consists of a square roof tower, a 36m high hexagonal lookout tower which can see for a radius of 5km.       Source: Email, Dave Bromwich, 24/1/16

Application form and approval letter for Rewi joining Shanghai Municipal Fire Brigade (1927)
Rewi Alley in Fireman’s uniform
The fire brigade in Hongkou District. Rewi Alley is front row, third from left.
A fire in Shanghai that Rewi fought

Rewi Alley’s China > Beijing > Shanghai > Hubei province > Shaanxi provinceGansu province > Shandan > Lanzhou >

This article is based on a report by Jane Furkert of her work: ‘An Independent Travellers’ Guide to Rewi Alley Locations in China, 2016’, that was funded by the Rewi Alley Friendship and Exchange (RAFE) Fund.