Nicky Sugar, archivist at Bristol Record Office, will introduce a selection of films from Bristol’s British Empire and Commonwealth collections. Shot mostly by British families living and working in Empire and Commonwealth countries, the archive, put together by the former British Empire and Commonwealth Museum, contains over 2,000 amateur films made between the 1920s and 1970s.
This collection of ‘unofficial’ films provide rare, personal perspectives of life in the British colonies. Excerpts will include those from the collection of missionary George Thomas Basden, who spent many years in West Africa. He had an interest in anthropology and his 1930 film includes footage of the dancing rituals of the Ibo people of Nigeria. Reggie Turner worked for an oil company and lived with his family near Ravalpindi in India, and in his film from the 1930s, we see the family as tourists visiting the Taj Mahal and other sites, recording local scenes as they travel by train to Bombay to board a ship home. And a 1940s film shot by the Venerable Charles Roach features scenes in Iraq and specifically Baghdad, including footage of the teenage Faisal II, the last King of Iraq who reigned from 1935-1958.