New BRLSI Publication: William Vacher

This booklet contains an account of the life and exploits of William Herbert Vacher (c1826-1899), tea merchant in Shanghai during the Second Opium War and first London agent for HSBC. He was  dismissed after a major scandal involving misuse of the Bank’s funds. The BRLSI archive contains two albums of early photographs of China compiled by  Vacher and his wife. Research into his life has revealed a fascinating man and this biography evokes a time of empires and trade wars, when opium was at the centre of intense international negotiation and British naval activity. Vacher’s little known photographs add intriguing insights into a country which had yet to open itself fully to western eyes.
This account has been compiled from material gathered by Denise Cusick, Terry Bennett, Michael Gray and Rob Randall. Designed by Jude Harris.