Afghanistan, the Thames and Shanghai in The Graphic May 1879

May 31, 1879, The Graphic, an illustrated weekly newspaper from London, predicts trouble in Afghanistan if the British Army withdraws; celebrates Londoners getting their bridges back; takes a canter round the Shanghai Derby; and has a solution for ‘general debility’.


Grand Durbar held by General Sir Sam Browne on New Year's Day in Jellalabad.

Grand Durbar held by General Sir Sam Browne on New Year’s Day in Jellalabad.

ENGLAND AND AFGHANISTAN.- Although Yakoob Khan has accepted our terms of peace, it is generally recognised that our troubles in Afghanistan are not yet at an end.  We have little definite information respecting  the state of parties among the Afghans, but there is every reason to believe that the Ameer we have acknowledged will meet with serious opposition from more than one rival.  According to some reports, indeed, the country is on the eve of a period of political convulsion, the revolutionary elements being held in temporary check only by the proximity of the British Army ….

Freeing the bridges - the Prince and Princess of Wales at Lambeth Bridge

Freeing the bridges – the Prince and Princess of Wales at Lambeth Bridge


The sixtieth birthday of Her Majesty the Queen will long be remembered by Londoners as the day on which five of the Thames bridges were opened toll free. (Lambeth Bridge, Vauxhall Bridge, Chelsea Bridge, Albert Bridge and Battersea Bridge) … At each of the bridges on the route the formality of handing the keys to Sir J Hogg was gone through, and the Prince repeated the words which dedicated the structure to public use “for ever”.



It is proverbial that Englishmen are so passionately fond of horse-racing that wherever they assemble in numbers large enough to form a community they are sure to introduce their favourite pastime.  China is no exception; and the interest it excites amongst the natives leads one to suppose that it is an amusement suitable to the temperament of the nation.  At Shanghai on race days vast crowds of this dark-haired people, of both sexes and of all ages, stream along the thoroughfares that lead to the racecourse.  The majority are on foot, some are mounted on scraggy little ponies, and many are conveyed on wheelbarrows, while the better dressed people occupy carriages of various shapes and colours.  Interspersed amongst them are to be seen the splendid equipages of Europeans.  Lining the roads are vendors of all kinds of delicacies, such as sweetmeats, cakes and fruit, which remind one of the roads to races at home, only that the characters and surroundings are so very different … On occasions like these the Chinese show to advantage, for though they are merry and full of fun, they are never rude … Our engraving is from a sketch by Mr. E. H. Grimani of Chianking.


Copyright Georgie Knaggs & The Phraser 2018

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