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China IV

Unique record of a Quaker mission to China, containing precious footage of Shanghai street and river life.

Amateur film 1930 13 mins Silent


This remarkable footage was filmed during a mission to China by the Society of Friends (Quakers). Its technical faults and haphazard structure are typical of many amateur films, but it’s crammed full of fascinating images of Shanghai street and river life and intriguing scenes of the Friends Mission and its interaction with local people.

This was one of four reels of 16mm film taken on the Friends Service Council’s 1930 mission to China and brought back to England. They were filmed by John Cuthbert Wigham, an Irish-born Quaker and businessman who in retirement was an active member (later chairman) of the Council. He took part in its visits to Syria, Palestine, India and Madagascar as well as China, usually bringing his film camera with him.