This film is part of Free

Street Scenes - Peking and Shanghai

Join the hustle and bustle of Peking and Shanghai city life with this richly detailed 1930s home movie.

Amateur film 1933 5 mins Silent


Opening in Beijing - known to westerners as Peking until the 1970s - this rich amateur film explores a busy market in the Outer City. Cyclists weave their way between traders, horses and carts. Carved pailous (traditional ceremonial archways) mark this out as an important street. The closing scenes of a similar market were probably shot in Shanghai, with a barber at work among a cornucopia of goods.

The film was shot by Dr Reginald Clay, a London teacher who travelled to China after his retirement in the early 1930s. Dr Clay visited Peking before staying with his daughter, a medical missionary, in Shanghai.