China made a whole town in the style of English village and now it’s deserted

British architecture has a mixed reputation around the world so the fact there's a mock English village propping up a Chinese suburb is surprising to say the least.

In Shanghai, the deserted settlement of Thames Town sits at odds with the rest of the city's architecture as it's modelled entirely on an English market village.

Built in 2001, it was originally envisioned to provide accommodation for staff at a nearby university but as the years went on more and more people left.

The attention to detail on the curious district is pointlessly impressive with the Chinese architects not skimping on the some of the more mundane details of British life.

The streets are pleasingly cobbled, the buildings are covered in fake wooden beams and they've even managed to fit in some mock Victorian terraced housing.

Hilariously, the area is also littered with red phone boxes which, like their British counterparts, either don't work or aren't used.

The city planners weren't afraid to lean into our cultural heritage either and erected models of the Queen's Guard and Harry Potter on some street corners.

They even built a humongous church in the centre of the development which is pleasing for ecclesiastical fans if they look past the fact that it was built in the mid 2000's.

In the middle of the town, a plaque lists off the benefits of Little England: "Welcome to Thames Town. Taste authentic British style of small town.

"Enjoy sunlight, enjoy nature, enjoy your life and holiday. Dreaming of Britain, live in Thames Town."

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But why would someone build China-on-Thames in one of the most vibrant cities in the world?

Speaking in 2006 after the development was finished, Shanghai Hengde Real Estate developer James Ho professed a deep admiration for sensible English architecture.

He said: "I wanted the properties to look exactly the same as those in the United Kingdom. I think English properties are very special. When we decide to learn from others, we should not make any improvements or changes."

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Tragically, Thames Town's fortunes have declined since it was completed.

After being ridiculed and described as "a grotesque, and extremely funny parody of an olde English town seen through Chinese eyes" by prominent critic Jonathan Glancey, the number of permanent residents in the town slowly diminished.

Today many of the knock off shops are boarded up in the English ghost town.

The cobbled roads are also bereft of cars or foot traffic and many of the terraced houses are uninhabited.

It does still have some visitors though as it's become a popular wedding spot for Chinese couples wanting to have a picturesque English wedding without leaving the country.

It's also presumably a favourite foreign location for Brits looking for the ultimate ironic stag-do.

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