This remarkable and rare colour film of Beijing's Forbidden City gives some insight into the impact of tourism in 1938. Views of the Forbidden City's various landmarks are made all the more intriguing by the apparent lack of any visitors. However, it is interesting to note the No Smoking sign, in English, towards the end of the film.
S. Howard Hansford was an archaeologist and jade expert based at London University. He published a number of authoritative books on the subject of jade, as well as contributing several academic papers and contributions to journals on Chinese decorative art. During the Second World War Professor Hansford worked on code-breaking at Bletchley Park. The few visitors to the Forbidden City, as seen in this film, contrasts sharply with the current experience - where it's estimated that 7 million people will visit the Imperial Palace complex each year.
Screen Archive South East is a public sector moving image archive serving the South East of England. The archive's collections of magic lantern slides, films, videos and associated materials capture the many varied aspects of life, work and creativity from the early days of screen history to the present day and serve as a rich and invaluable historical resource.