The Great World of the past. Pic credit: Chinese Posters.
Turning one hundred years old is no mean feat, so Bespoke’s hearty congratulations go out to the lovely Great World building near People’s Square that was built in 1917. Now, whilst you’ve no doubt whizzed past this grand old dame countless times (and seen the bright white spire that looms over the elevated highway) you might not know that back in her youth she was a bit of a goer.
Opened as the city’s premier ‘entertainment complex’ and later taken over by corrupt-policeman-turned-mob boss ‘Pockmarked Huang’, the Great World was said to be teeming with life of every kind – contemporary accounts tell of everything from opera performances and tightrope walkers to fortune tellers, pickpockets and pimps!
As decadent as it sounds, the building has known hard times too, most notably when a bomb was accidentally dropped on it in 1937 at the start of the conflict with the Japanese with huge loss of life. While the building was repaired, it never really got its mojo back and lean years lay ahead.