This film is part of Free

Snapshots of China: Shaoyang Hospital, Hunan

Rare insight into the health work of Methodist missionaries in rural Shaoyang, Hunan Province, South Central China.

Amateur film 1946 10 mins Silent


This amateur film offers a fantastic insight into the work of Methodist missionaries living in Shaoyang, Hunan Province in the 1940s. As well as showcasing modern medical equipment and procedure, the film is rich with touching moments: worried-looking children queuing for vaccinations, smiling trainee nurses performing an operation, and cheery patients collecting their prescriptions.

This is one of six films known to have been shot by missionary doctor JG Pearson, who may well have been related to Dr George H Pearson, founder and manager of Shaoyang Hospital from 1920 to 1951. In the early 20th century, missionaries were often the only source of medical care in rural areas like Hunan. Their overriding contribution was to establish hospitals and provide medical training to local communities, as documented here.