The British Film Institute presents the best global cinema on-demand:
From classic and contemporary films to the best of the BFI National Archive.

Wanderings in Peking
Wanderings in Peking

Wanderings in Peking 1939

Close

This film is certified

Please confirm that you accept our terms of use.

Close

Wanderings in Peking 1939

11 mins United Kingdom

This captivating and richly detailed film of 1930s Beijing (then Peking) was shot by a British scholar studying in China. His wandering camera captures vivid snapshots of a lively city: trams jostling with camels and motorcars, a herd of sheep by the Qianmen gate, lantern shops outside the Forbidden City and vibrant street markets where vendors peddle hot snacks and acrobats perform for a jolly crowd.

The film was made by Sidney Howard Hansford, who went on to become Professor of Chinese Art and Archaeology at the University of London and Fellow of the School of Oriental and African Studies. Hansford was deeply interested in the subjects he filmed, though his pictures are also touristic. It's fascinating to see his fellow European students enjoying a day at the races and relaxing at a country house, in among the Beijing street scenes.

Read lessRead more
Part of

1,000s of beautifully preserved films, capturing 120 years of Britain on Film

Explore
The map

Explore further

View Street Scenes in China
Street Scenes in China
Watch for free

Street Scenes in China 1925

Watch a film that includes the funeral procession of Dr Sun Yat-sen, founding father of the Chinese Republic, born on this day in 1866.

45 mins United Kingdom

View My Oriental Friends, From Penang to Peking
My Oriental Friends, From Penang to Peking
Watch for free 17 mins

My Oriental Friends, From Penang to Peking 1923

This unique and beautiful tour of Southeast Asia and China is a treasure trove of picturesque views of Singapore, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Beijing.

17 mins United Kingdom Director. Selwyn Driver

View Street Scenes - Peking and Shanghai
Street Scenes - Peking and Shanghai
Watch for free 5 mins

Street Scenes - Peking and Shanghai 1933

Join the hustle and bustle of Peking and Shanghai city life with this richly detailed 1930s home movie.

5 mins United Kingdom

View Beijing - Palaces and Temples
Beijing - Palaces and Temples
Watch for free 4 mins

Beijing - Palaces and Temples 1938

Gates, palaces and temples all feature in this rare colour film from 1938 filmed mainly in the seemingly empty grounds of Beijing's Forbidden City.

4 mins United Kingdom

View Beijing - Coal Hill Street Scenes and the Forbidden City
Beijing - Coal Hill Street Scenes and the Forbidden City
Watch for free 15 mins

Beijing - Coal Hill Street Scenes and the Forbidden City 1938

This delightful colour film features Beijing's Forbidden City, the Summer and Winter palaces as well as parks, processions, a drama school and a Chinese picnic.

15 mins United Kingdom

View Outward Bound through the Suez Canal and on to Shanghai
Outward Bound through the Suez Canal and on to Shanghai
Watch for free 9 mins

Outward Bound through the Suez Canal and on to Shanghai 1938

Travel in luxury on the 'slow boat to China' in this remarkable film from 1938, passing through the Suez Canal to Hong Kong, Shanghai and beyond.

9 mins United Kingdom

Subscription

View All

Welcome to a new subscription service like no other.

>100s of hand-picked classics and critically-acclaimed films

>Critic Mark Kermode picks a must-see film every week

>No contract, cancel anytime

Cookies Policy

This website uses cookies, as explained in our Cookies Policy.

To accept the terms and hide this message please click 'I accept'.

I accept

Passionate about film? So are we…

Don't miss the email made for the in-the-know film fan:

New releases — on the same day as in cinemas Special collections & unheralded classics Exclusive news on discounts


Never ask | Ask me later