This film is part of Free

Hong Kong Happenings

Striking snapshots of life in a colonial outpost in the 1930s.

Home movie 1935 13 mins Silent

Overview

This rare amateur footage conjures a vibrant and confident Hong Kong when it was still under British colonial rule in the 1930s. Many of the people featured would be forced to flee the region when the Japanese invaded Hong Kong a couple of years later in 1941. One of the more colourful events documented is a Romany Fair - look out for the ‘Curio Caravan’.

The newly reconstructed HSBC Bank, then known as the Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Company Limited, shown at the beginning of the film, was regarded as an Art Deco masterpiece and a symbol of the city’s prosperity and modernity. The lion statues became the bank’s motif and were retained along with other architectural features when Norman Foster famously transformed the site into a minimalist glass skyscraper in 1985.