Empire Made Me: An Englishman Adrift in Shanghai

By Robert Bickers | Go to book overview

4
The Shanghai Municipal Police

Shanghai was now home. Although half of those who came out on the SS Devanha with him would leave Shanghai before the end of 1922, Tinkler would return to England just once, and would only ever leave Asia twice before his death. Police stations, hostels and company flats variously and anonymously provided the accommodation in which he lived; hotels, cabarets and resorts the world in which he played. The first of his perches was the Shanghai Municipal Police Training Depot on Gordon Road. Here Tinkler and his colleagues were introduced to the SMP, to Shanghailander society and to the city itself. Through this depot the force aimed to turn recruits into policemen, and Britons into Shanghailanders. They would learn about the force they had joined, and the city in which it policed. It would teach them the written regulations as well as the unwritten laws and practices which underpinned British colonialism in general, and the Shanghai Settlement, and the British community in particular. It would make empire men of them.

The Shanghai Municipal Police brought order to the bustling hyperactivity of the International Settlement. Dating back to 1854, the SMP had grown from a small complement of Britons recruited from the Hong Kong police into a large and ethnically diverse force. At the start of 1919, Commissioner of Police Kenneth John McEuen led a mixed complement of 146 foreigners (nearly all of them Britons): a recently established Japanese branch of 30 men whose purpose was to cope with the rapid increase in the Japanese population of the Settlement, especially in the Northern District of Hongkew; 370 Sikhs (first recruited in 1884); and 1,400 Chinese constables and sergeants (first recruited in 1864). These men also helped supervise 470 Chinese

-64-

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Empire Made Me: An Englishman Adrift in Shanghai
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page v
  • Contents vii
  • I - The Empire World 1
  • 2 - Before Shanghai 18
  • 3 - Shanghai 1919 39
  • 4 - The Shanghai Municipal Police 64
  • 5 - Shanghai Detective 95
  • 6 - ‘Learning to Be a Man’ 130
  • 7 - The End of the ‘Good Old China’ 163
  • 8 - What We Can’t Know 202
  • 9 - Adrift in the Empire World 223
  • 10 - Empire’s Civil Dead 252
  • 11 - Aftermath 290
  • 12 - We Are the Dead 328
  • Acknowledgements 343
  • Ranks in the Shanghai Municipal Police, Foreign Branch 346
  • Note on Currency 347
  • Romanization of Chinese Words and Names 348
  • Illustrations 349
  • Notes 352
  • Unpublished and Archival Sources 390
  • Index 395
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