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Focus on Minhang historic building from freemexy's blog

A little-known historic building in Minhang District is now in the spotlight after China’s Ministry of Emergency Management said it was a serious fire hazard.However, the local authority said it rectified the flaws before this year's Spring Festival.To get more shanghai Minhang news, you can visit shine news official website.

He’s Messuage is the only building in Shanghai on the ministry's list which includes 33 museums and heritage buildings nationwide that have serious fire hazards.The ministry said the Shanghai property has no water supply for fire hydrants, and the electric wire installation is substandard.

It also said the building was being used for a commercial operation and a residence, with people cooking with gas, which is forbidden under regulations for the protection of historic buildings.

On Thursday morning, a Shanghai Daily reporter visited He’s Messuage. It is in the old town of Zhuanqiao, where a demolition campaign has begun. Most of the shanties which were built over the last 100 years will be torn down, and more than 1,500 families will be relocated.

He’s Messuage is one of the seven historic buildings that will be preserved in the area, and the only cultural relic protection site.It is a two-story quadrangle building with a small courtyard. The original wooden structure of the building is well-preserved. Some of the carvings on the windows also remain.Local residents said the building was built in the late Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) during the reign of Emperor Guangxu (1875-1908), but no one could come up with the exact year of completion.

Locals said the building used to belong to a landlord named Zhou. His daughter later married a businessman named He. The messuage was used by the neighborhood committee until 2015, but then left vacant. In 2017, liquor merchant Li Xiaoye rented the building and renovated it.

“I like Chinese calligraphy and painting, so I used it as my private lounge where friends hang out,” said Li. “It was never used for any commercial purpose.” The main lounge on the first floor is now a study where Li and his friends paint. Every Thursday, a folk artist gives a lecture on paper-cutting, which is intangible cultural heritage of Zhuanqiao. The lectures are free.

Other than that, Li said the building is seldom open to the public.The deputy town mayor Shen Wenming said all the problems that the ministry had raised in the notice have been fixed.“An inspection team visited the building in September last year and pointed out the fire hazards,” said Shen. “We started renovation soon after the inspection and all rectifications were finished before the Spring Festival this year.”The wires were installed without cover which made them vulnerable,” said Shen. “Damaged wires may lead to a fire.”

Town officials sent workers to the building in October last year and laid new wires covered with metal tubing.A fire alarm system has also been installed.“We put a mini fire station in the front yard of the building,” Shen said. “Several fire extinguishers are placed on each floor of the building.”

Li said he had stored a number of valued artistic works in the building. He had hired a young man as the doorkeeper to keep the relics safe.“He used to live in the gate house in the front yard,” Li said. “But we told him to move out after the inspection. No one now cooks in the building anymore.”Shen said they are now waiting for another round of inspection so that the building can be taken off the list.By the end of this year, Li will move his small studio out of the building.

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