Photo Credit: Andy Campbell, UTP Media
The Shanghai Scots reformed in 2013 and has rekindled the connection between the club and the city. Originally formed in 1868, the Shanghai Scots were a bustling part of Shanghai life until its disbandment in 1942. In 2012, the club was reinstated as the Shanghai Scottish Sports Club, known as the Shanghai Scots, and currently have over 100 active members and counting.
Since its reinstatement, the club has honored its past by wearing replicas of the original Tartans on to the pitch and held its first Burns Night in decades at the Shanghai Marriott Hotel City Centre. They’ve faced the Irish on the pitch in the past two years and are taking place in this year’s Shanghai Gaelic Nations Cup.
The Shanghai Scottish Club was originally founded in 1866 for the purposes of fielding a cricket team against the Shanghai English, which they won by 10 wickets. It developed rapidly through the 19th Century and became a major component of sporting life in Shanghai during the years of the International Settlement. During the 1920s, the Scottish Club fielded a strong rugby team and a football team that dominated the Prentice-Skottowe Cup, a competition played between different international communities in Shanghai.
During this time, the club held Burns Suppers at the Shanghai Club (now Waldorf) and The Masonic Lodge. The present committee’s decision to open up this year’s Burns Supper to kids and women would have the old timers turning in their graves as the previous Burns Suppers would definitely have been stag affairs. It’s a tradition that is maintained in Hong Kong to this day.
Disbanded in 1942 after the Japanese invasion, it was reformed in 2012 and is once again becoming a significant feature of the expat sporting scene in Shanghai. In April, the Shanghai Scots took to the field again for the first time in over 70 years wearing replica 1920s football strips of their predecessors. All members must either be Scottish by birth or be able to demonstrate a strong connection to Scotland.
The Stewart Hunting tartan was originally worn by the Scottish Regiment of the Shanghai Volunteer Corp, the military unit of the Shanghai International settlement from 1853 to 1942, and provides the base for the new design. The colours reflect Scotland and Shanghai, with the Saltire blue taking centre stage. The softer shade of blue relates to sporting team colours worn by the Shanghai Scottish members. A single white overcheck runs through the blue shades representing the Scottish Saltire flag. The Chinese flag is also represented within the design, by a single gold overcheck running through a bold red shade.
In the late 19th Century and early 20th Century many Scots played important roles in the Shanghai International Settlement. Two of the most notable are Frederick Anderson and John Prentice.
The former was the Chairman of the International Settlement in 1905 as well as being one of the first Presidents of the Shanghai Rugby Football Club and the Shanghai St Andrew’s Society. In his youth he was an accomplished sportsman and holds the distinction of scoring the first international football goal scored in Scotland when in 1874 he scored the opener in the 2-1 victory over the English.
Prentice, a shipbuilder from Greenock, held many prominent community and business positions including Secretary of the International Settlement and President of the Shanghai St Andrew’s Society. His great passion was football and he was instrumental in developing competitive football in Shanghai. He was also very active in the French community and was one of only two non French people to have a street named after them in the former French Concession with the other person being Prince Edward for some reason. Prentice also donated the Prentice Golf Cup which was an annual event for the international community.