Pawnshop in Cangcheng historic zone morphs into bookstore
Xu's pawnshop at 368 Zhongshan Road W. is the only ancient pawnshop in Songjiang that has stood the test of time. Recently renovated, it has a new identity as a bookstore to celebrate Chinese literature and cultural heritage.
It was built in the mid-to-late Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). From 1862 until shortly before the founding of the People's Republic of China, Songjiang had 29 pawnshops but only one west of Xiuye Bridge – Xu's.
The 1,745-square-meter pawnshop was quite famous in Songjiang at that time. During the Chinese People's War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression (1931-1945), the Ye family opened a pharmacy called Tianhetang in the pawnshop.
After more than 150 years of ups and downs, the pawnshop has a new mission.
The well-arranged bookstore has a front courtyard, back garden and an atrium, as well as corridors, half pavilions, white walls and black tiles.
"We'll carry out book salons, folk art performances, research seminars and launching ceremonies of new tourist products here," said Li Weifeng, head of the bookstore. "Family members who have misunderstandings with each other may attend the book salons and feel relaxed and happy once again."