The History of Sport Played in China's Treaty Ports

Lawrence “Lolly” Goldman, ‘Shanghai’s all-round sportsman’ lived an extraordinary life and had a good innings. He died aged 91, on 11 January 1995. His wife died eight year later in November 2003 

A source referenced copy of the text below is available on request

The Goldman family travelling in 1950

Shanghai vs Hong Kong
The fifth interport fixture between the two sides played in Shanghai (black) on 31 January 1930. Shanghai won 5 – 0.

Back row:
L Goldman, F R Burch, R I Cherrill, Lt. W B Maxwell, G S Chambers, R A Browning.

Middle row: E S Barraclough, (referee), J D A Hutchinson (reserve), A D Suttill, W F Peers, M D Scott, G H W Churchill, E B Gammell, I A Ross, W R Meathrel, L F Payne, D McL. Wheeler, I E McGilchrist, J A L Peach, A Crawford, J C Taylor, W D Neil, C S Holdsworth (touch judge).

Back row: R J Grieve, G P Lammert, E R West, J L Bonnar, B P Massey (Captain), A W Burkill (President), K G Stephenson (Club Captain), A J Kane, (Team Captain), R D K Silby, J G B Dewar, G S  McGill, E C Hubbard.

  Because he was elected as the captain of the Shanghai Football Club in October 1926, he did not have time to play much rugby in the 1926-27 season, appearing mostly for his SVC team the Machine Gunners.

  His next interport cap was earned two years later against another Japanese University team, Meiji who visited at Christmas 1927. Goldman excelled himself in this game, the Shanghai team scored nine tries, five of them were Goldman’s. Later in the same season, he went one better against an army team scoring six tries and for good measure seven conversions.  One month after the visit by Meiji, Hong Kong again visited Shanghai and Goldman earned his final interport cap. A few months later he participated in the first game against the US Sixth Marines team who had recently taken up the sport of rugby in Tientsin (Tianjin) and visited Shanghai to play a series of games. The following season the Sixth Marines were posted to Shanghai becoming the US Fourth Marines, and provided the core players who went on to dominate Shanghai rugby for several seasons earning the title of ‘The Thundering Herd’.

'‘Shanghai’s all-round sportsman’'
Lawrence ‘Lolly’ Goldman (1903 – 1995)

  We danced at the Hong Kong Hotel and Repulse Bay Hotel, and occasionally at the various bachelors' messes - the Hong Kong Bank (Wayfoong Mess); Jardine, Matheson and Co. (Ewo Mess); Butterfield and Swire. Balls were held, usually at the Peninsula Hotel, on St. George's and St. Andrew's nights.  The girls were given dance cards in which were listed by name the foxtrots and waltzes, and the men wrote their names in the blank spaces. St. Andrew's Ball was enjoyed for its bagpipes, Scottish reels, haggis and kilts. By special license Balls went on until 1 a.m. They all praised me for my dancing - and who could resist dancing in those grand hotel ballrooms with their smooth, shiny, brightly polished wooden floors, to the music of a sweet sounding orchestra. I could have danced for ever!  Dance orchestras were composed of Filipinos from Manila, who showed by their smiles that they enjoyed playing as much as we did dancing. Their repertoire was all the latest American dance tunes. These were a few of them -  Always; All alone; Whispering; Singing in the rain; What'll I do? You were meant for me; My wonderful one; You're the cream in my coffee; The Saxophone Waltz; Bye Bye Blackbird; You're driving me crazy; Me and my shadow; I can't give you anything but love; The Naughty Waltz; Three o'clock in the morning… In the winter on Saturday afternoons there were Rugby football matches in Happy Valley, and the girls would attend, to watch their bachelor friends rushing about getting covered in mud and sweat.  But one dreadful day Brian's neck was broken while playing Rugger. He recovered, but never regained his good health.

   The family Goldman family life did not appear in the local newspapers, the first mentions were associated with sport. Alexander first played rugby in Shanghai in the first game of rugby after the First World War in 1920.  He played irregularly for scratch teams and the Shanghai Volunteer Corp’s (SVC) Machine Gun Company team. Lawrence made his first rugby appearance in 1921 in an invitational team playing against his elder brother. Later that year, the brothers played together for the Machine Gun Company. Whereas Alexander’s rugby days in Shanghai were coming to an end, those of ‘Lolly’ were only just starting. His playing career in Shanghai lasted until 1930 when he left the city of his birth to live and work in Hong Kong.

  The first two of his four interport caps were earned in December 1925 when he played against the first Japanese University team to visit Shanghai, Keio University. Hong Kong visited Shanghai at the same time to play in a three-way tournament and Goldman also played against them. 

Previous Persons of the Month

Person of the Month 1 - George Michael Billings (with club 1902 to 1927)
Person of the Month 2 - Commandent Louis Guillaume Fabre (with club 1936 to 1941)
Person of the Month 3 - Victor Vause Winser Fretwell (with club 1927 to 1934)

Person of the Month 4 - Eric Byron Cumine (with club 1930 to 1934)

Person of the Month 5 - Francis Kingdon Ward (with  club 1907 to 1909)
Person of the Month 6 - Percy Martin Lancaster (with  club 1903 to 1913)

Person of the Month 7 - The Schlee family (with  club 1886 to 1950)

Person of the Month 8 - Henry Bluett Liversedge (with Tientsin and Shanghai rugby 1927 to 1929)

Person of the Month 9 - John William Henry Burgoyne ( with club 1881 to 1885)

Person of the Month 10 - Lawrence "Lolly" Goldman (with club 1921 to 1930)

Goldman's fourth and final interport cap for Shanghai was earned playing Hong Kong on 23 January 1928 in Shanghai. Hong won the match 6:3 

Player for Shanghai Rugby Football Club (1921 – 1930) with four interport caps

  We can get a fascinating glimpse of Goldman’s social life in Hong Kong soon after he arrived, from some reminisces in Betty Steel’s unpublished memoirs.   She wrote of her time as a young spinster socialising with bachelors many of whom were Hong Kong rugby players. (I have highlighted in bold those who earned Hong Kong interport caps). 

  The year before, [1929] I had met Derrick Milne-Day and Audrey [Betty’s sister] met Brian Massey. They were both in the Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank. Derrick was 22, very fair and rather overweight, and known to one and all as Fatty - an unkind name. He was a cheerful, easy going young man and unusually intelligent. The son of missionaries on the Malabar Coast, India, he had hoped to be a doctor, but finances would not allow the medical training. Brian was a couple of years older than Derrick, the son of a Shanghai family. He affected a cynical manner and a slight American accent… And so began the era of dancing parties in the winter and swimming parties in the summer. Our friends were Eve O'Hagan and Mike Turner(Hong Kong Bank), Betty Laing and Lolly Goldman (Gilman & Co), Edna Blackburn and Jake Selby (a Scottish doctor), Joe Coppin and G.A. Plummer, "Plums", Joe's brother Dudley, Margaret and Rosemary King, Eileen Lammert and Jim Henry (Reuter's), Eileen Bonnar, Joey Lack, Daphne and Vernon Stanion (her brother), Minna Whitham and her brother James, Jenny Whyte, "Uncle" Burch (Hong Kong Bank), Teddie West, Dick Beaumont, Shorty Stock and others…

Announcement of the birth of Jane Russell Goldman

  Things were not so humorous on the voyage to Hong Kong by the Shanghai Cricket team to play an interport match in the winter of 1926. When the boat ran aground, the thoughts of the cricketers must have inevitably turned towards the SS Bokhara disaster which the Hong Kong cricket team encountered 34 years before, when all but two of the team drowned on their return journey to Hong Kong. The Shanghai team had enjoyed a convivial late night on board before finally dispersing to bed at about 01:45. About 15 minutes later the steamer President Harrison struck a rock. Alarmingly, the passengers were instructed to get dressed and make their way to the lifeboat stations. ‘The sight of Mansel-Smith and “Lolly” Goldman appearing with lifebelts, sobered us down a bit’.  


Fortunately, the weather was calm and it became apparent after a fretful half hour that the boat was not in immediate danger. The on the spot reports of the accident soon turned humorous, and the extent of the cricketers drinking that night became apparent, “Barney” it is reported, was three times wakened by being doused with water before the situation was brought home to him, whilst “Sam” Isaacs, poor fellow – well, they say he is a particularly heavy sleeper just now – however, he showed up about half an hour after the show had started.’  In order to pass the time on deck, some of the cricket team struck up on the piano, ‘while “Lolly” Goldman appeared in cricket pads and batting gloves while attempts were made to take photographs of the ensuing jollity ‘by artificial lights’.

  Such was the carefree social life of a bachelor sportsman in Shanghai in the 1920s. In 1929 or 1930, Goldman moved to Hong Kong, presumably with his work with the insurance broker Gilman & Co. He returned to Shanghai with the Hong Kong rugby team in late January 1930 to play against his former teammates and the US Fourth Marines. Having played two very tough games, he turned out a few days later for a first choice Shanghai team to play against HMS Cornwall. 

Extract from the reports of the Shanghai Football Club meeting where Goldman was elected as First XI captain

Lolly’s bachelor days were numbered; a certain Betty Laing had made an appearance alongside the Shanghai sportsman! In October 1932 the two are listed as travelling on the same ship from Birkenhead, UK to Hong Kong. Lawrence Goldman aged 29 and Elizabeth Stuart B. Laing aged 22 were returning to their home city to an eventual marriage. I have not been able to find exactly when they were married but a 1950 ship manifest hints at a long engagement! In October 1950, Elizabeth Stuart Black Goldman is listed as travelling from Southampton, UK to Hong Kong with two children. Marjorie Louise Goldman aged 9 and David John Goldman aged 4. 

Shanghai players: G S Dunkley (2), L Goldman (5), E C Hubbard, V W L Stanion, G S McGill (8), A J W Evans, W D Neil (4), R M Currie, P A Watkinson, E R Rodgers, C E Fleury, W B Meathrel (3), A J Kane (10), D W B Murray, K F B Pawley

Shanghai officials: A W Burkill (1), G D Nicholl (7)

Hong Kong players: Lt. Com. A E Thomson, G P Lammert, A E Pritchard, L M S Lloyd, G F H Bichard (9), C D Wales (6), Lt. G P S Davies (RN), T L Foster, Lt. J H Dale (RN), F H Trayes, R F Akhurst, Lt. J B Wealy (Queen's Regt.), W Beveridge, S M Gerrard, Lt. H A Grant (RN)

  Lawrence ‘Lolly’ Goldman was born in Shanghai on 22 July 1903, (probably) the third child of David Goldman and his wife Clara Serebrenik, nee Gordon.  His elder brother, Alexander Percival was born 1900, the following year a sister followed named Jane Russell. Two more children were born after ‘Lolly’, Reginald in 1910 and Cecil in 1913. 


"Lolly's" third interport match was against Meiji University on 24 December 1927. Shanghai won 38 : 8.

  In 1928, the China Press started printing a series of caricatures in their Sunday sports supplement. Lawrence was featured as the fourth such personality, wearing the white Shanghai rugby strip. The caption noted that ‘Lolly’ was ‘Shanghai’s all-round sportsman. Soccer, rugger and cricket Interporter. Also a tennis and basketball star.’  He was indeed a keen and talented sportsman, trying his hand, and feet, at a large variety of sports.

  Aged just 17, Lawrence appeared in the North China Herald in September 1921 as a participant in the Shanghai International Swimming Club’s annual swimming gala in the ‘Throwing The Polo Ball’ competition.  He came third throwing it a distance of 59 feet and nine inches, only three inches behind the second placed man. The following year, he became the first man since 1910 to beat Shanghai’s supreme water polo ball thrower, Mr. R W Macabe, when he threw the ball 75ft! 
In February 1924 he represented Shanghai at soccer playing in the interport fixture against Hong Kong in a three all draw, and scoring several goals in Shanghai’s 10 – 0 destruction of Hankow [Wuhan].  In August 1925, he again featured in a sporting commentary, this time playing tennis. He was runner up in the singles section of the Shanghai Cricket Club’s tennis tournament but won the doubles partnered with A L Sullivan. 

  In November 1925, Lawrence participated in the Shanghai Rowing Club’s Autumn Regatta.  Weighing in at 160 pounds, he rowed as stroke in a club fours team and as number 2 in the England fours team. In May of 1926, playing cricket for the Shanghai Cricket Club against the Shanghai Recreation Club, Goldman scored an unbeaten 103.  
On the lighter side, in July 1926, on a Wednesday afternoon at the Avenue Joffre [Huai Hai Road (Middle)] Fire Station and ‘Fortified by copious libations of the best “provenance de France” the Shanghai Fire Brigade ‘had the temerity to challenge their hosts to a water polo match.’ The gauntlet was taken up and the two inebriated teams made haste to the Shanghai Rowing Club’s swimming pool near Garden Bridge. Goldman represented the French Pompiers and helped them soundly beat the challengers by 7 goals to nil, Lolly scoring twice. 

Shanghai players: G S Dunkley (3), L Goldman (8), E C Hubbard (10), V W L Stanion, G S McGill (5), A J W Evans, W D Neil (6), R M Currie, C E Fleury, W R Meathrel (9), D W B Murray, E R Rodgers, K G Stephenson (7), P A Watkinson, J R Watson

Shanghai officials: A W Burkill (2), G D Nicholl (1)

Meiji players: S Kimuro, F Nakamura, I Kataoka, S Nishimo, T Yasuda, K Isoda, J Norose, G Kawana, M Ahsida, Y Okada, T Chiba, K Kimoto, K Koto, C Kitajima, M Igarashi

1932 Ship's manifest showing Goldman and his future wife travelling to Hong Kong