Gail Caddy, the owner of an English pub in Dorset took a much-awaited trip to China last week. After 6 years of hearing about a building in Thames Town that was the exact replica of her pub, she just had to see it for herself, if only to figure out why they chose to copy her nondescript building rather than more famous English structures. What she saw was surprising. Not just because it was a splitting replica, but because it was located in a nearly empty town.
Thames Town was inaugurated in 2006 as a satellite city to Shanghai, which was designed to house about 10,000 people. In an attempt to create an English atmosphere, the planning company lifted the designs of what they saw as typical English buildings. But the town somehow never took off, and is nearly empty of residents (and therefore pubgoers).
However, the town has found its true purpose as a photo backdrop for Chinese couples in love. Most of the town's visitors are couples who bring elaborate costumes, light reflectors and professional photographers, making the $300 million dollar township nothing more than a very expensive photo set.