This film is part of Free

Shantou, China c.1932

Home-movie snapshots of life and work in Shantou in Guangdong Province, South China.

Amateur film 1932 11 mins Silent


This intriguing compilation of amateur footage shows a private garden in Shantou (formerly Swatow) and the Eng family business - a centre for lace, linen and silk embroidery, piled high for London export. More shocking is the abrupt sequence of criminals being strapped to rickshaws, taken to a field and executed, among personal shots of women and children working at the family workshop.

Take a closer look at Shantou Extract 1 which features more footage of the Eng family's textile workshop in Shantou. The Engs moved to the UK in the 1920s but continued to produce fine silks and embroideries in China for wholesale in London, until Japan's occupation of China eventually put a stop to all shipments abroad. This footage was shot during one of the Engs' many visits to their home city.