The History of Sport Played in China's Treaty Ports

Other Artifacts of the month

  This month's artifact is a dinner menu from December 1936. The dinner, held at the Metropole Hotel in Shanghai was held in honour of the visiting Meiji University rugby team.  The Metropole hotel can be visited today and is located at 180 Jiangxi Zhong Road opposite Hamilton House. The original menu was donated by Mr Barrie Martin, the son of a 1930s rugby player Mr J W M Martin. He donated his father's collection of SRFC memorabilia to the World Rugby Museum at Twickenham. 

  Meiji had previously visited Shanghai in 1927 and 1934. This 1936 visit was their third and final trip to Shanghai. On this last trip they played three matches. On 20th December they easily beat the US Fourth Marines. 

  The next match, which was played on Christmas Day was the first of two against Shanghai. The first meeting watched by around 2,500 people, was considered the interport game and the Shanghai Nippon Interport Shield was up for grabs.  Meiji won 10:12. A report of the time called it one of the most thrilling matches seen in Shanghai for many a long day.’ Meiji scored two tries in the first half and led 6:0. In the second half Slater scored an opportunist try and Blackwood had a brilliant run on the other wing. With both the Club tries being converted and conceding just one try in reply, with fifteen minutes to go, Shanghai were leading 10:9. Unfortunately for Shanghai, Meiji managed to score a fourth unconverted try before the final whistle was blown and Meiji won back the Shanghai Nippon Interport Shield for Japan 12:10.

  The final game was played two days later on the 27th December, again Meiji won, this time 8:11. 

The euphoria of the Meiji visit disappeared when the tragic news reached members of the Rugby Club on New Year’s Day 1937. Police Sergeant Slater, Mike to his rugby mates, was murdered while on duty on New Year’s Eve. Just before midday, he and two Chinese constables had been called out to an armed robbery in the vicinity Peking Road. He arrived at the scene and entered 378 Peking Road, near Shantung Road.  As he entered the building, the robbers were running down the stairs clutching $4,500 that they had grabbed from the safe of the property renting agency on the fifth floor. The newspaper report continued;He started up the stairs with pistol drawn… Slater encountered the robbers on the first-floor landing and they opened fire on him. He was forced to retreat to the vestibule, where he took up position outside the lift door, covering the bottom of the stairway with his pistol. As the men reached the vestibule, Slater exchanged shots with them, was mortally wounded in the forehead, retreated a few steps back into the wider part of the vestibule and then slumped to the granite floor dead.  

  





Artifact of the Month Number 3 - May 2014  (for previous artifacts see bottom of page)

Sergeant Eric Murray 'Mike' Slate' killed on new Years Eve 1936

Action from the Christmas Day fixture. Peter Blix referred to on the photo caption died during World War Two while serving with the Norwegian Merchant Navy.

The visiting Meiji University rugby team line up the day before the first match of their December 1936.

Shanghai Rugby Club Vice President, Herbert William Porter McMeekin presents the Shanghai Nipponjin Interport shield to Meiji Captain S Nishigaki on Christmas Day 1936.