There Is A Fake English Village In Shanghai And It’s Uncanny

Imagine Wee Britain, but stranger.

1. Thames Town is about an hour outside of Shanghai.

2. It was completed in 2006, as part of Shanghai’s One City, Nine Towns initiative.

3. As part of the scheme, 9 satellite towns were built around Shanghai, each in a different international style.

There are also towns with Scandinavian, Italian, Spanish, Canadian, Dutch and German themes.

4. Thames Town was based on various parts of Bristol, Dorset and Chester.

5. The image on the left is from Thames Town. The image on the right is The Cross in Chester.

Rueben Wu


6. However, due to a disparity in building materials and techniques, the village doesn’t quite work.

7. It’s practically deserted.

The town is only 6 years old, designed to appeal to the Chinese middle class who hanker after a bit of British charm. Unfortunately, most bought their houses as second homes, and the place is a virtual ghost town.

Photographer Rueben Wu explains:

“All the shops there had started off as other things - record shops, cafes, restaurants and clothing shops, but most had been shut down.”

8. It is, however, a big destination for weddings.


Follow Reuben Wu on Instagram.

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Ailbhe Malone is the UK lifestyle editor for BuzzFeed and is based in London.
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