Peter Hibbard, a British expatriate who moved from Bournemouth to Shanghai in 2001, has been awarded an MBE by Her Majesty the Queen for his work in conserving heritage in Shanghai.
Mr Hibbard began his association with Shanghai back in 1986 and he immediately developed a love for the city’s history and culture. After moving to Beijing in 1988 he was given access to a wealth of literature after befriending a kindly librarian. He studied newspapers that were printed in English, like North China Daily News, and thus developed a strong knowledge base in tourism, travel and history. Speaking to the BBC Mr Hibbard said: “You arrive in Shanghai and it doesn’t feel like China. It’s one of the greatest cities in the world to fathom out. It’s very difficult to get a handle on its history.”
He has since assisted in the renovation of some of Shanghais most decorated and historically important buildings including the Holy Trinity Cathedral. He has also had a number of self-penned books published such as Beyond Hospitality: The History of Hong Kong and Shanghai Hotels, Ltd and The Bund Shanghai: China Faces West.
In 2007 Mr Hibbard had the honour of being named president of the Royal Asiatic Society in Shanghai, which is an organization established in 1857 to further the cause of libraries and museums. The RAS ceased operations in 1952 during the Chinese Communist regime, but now thanks to the good work of Mr Hibbard the RAS has returned: “RAS is about bringing the history back to life and recognition of Shanghai as an important cultural base.” said Mr Hibbard.
The ceremony at Buckingham Palace takes place tomorrow afternoon, where Mr Hibbard will be officially bestowed with the MBE.