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A Visit to Fuzhou with the Bradford Dyers Association and Shanghai Views

The bustling waterways of rural Fouzhou contrast sharply with the frenetic pace of life in Shanghai, as seen in this atmospheric film from the late 1920s.

Amateur film 1929 4 mins Silent

From the collection of:

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This amazing film starts by showing an assortment of traditional Chinese vessels, from large junks to small boats laden with goods for sale. Cruising along the river other boats get caught in our wake. Then we see street-scenes of Shanghai including mischievous children and a woman carrying a giant pot before seeing some magnificent views of the Bund. We also see exteriors of the BDA's Shanghai office where an employee is seen packing a traditional silk hat into a box.

William Simpson, who made this film, worked for the Bradford Dyers Association in Shanghai, at Number 1, The Bund. The BDA was first registered on the 3rd December 1989 and its purpose was to acquire the business of various firms in Bradford and Yorkshire who were engaged in the piece dyeing trade. After almost a century of acquisitions, the BDA were themselves bought out by Viyella in 1964. It is not clear when the BDA's Shanghai office was opened but it is known that they were exporting silks, cottons and woollens, dyed in Bradford, all over the world. By the time the Japanese Imperial Army occupied Shanghai in late 1937, William and his wife Charlotte had already left the city.