Lindsay Ride films of HK in the 1950s – agriculture, duck herding and street scenes!

RL = Rick Law’s comments have been added.

Elizabeth Ride: My father Sir Lindsay Ride shot several cine films of Hong Kong in the 1950s.

The Hong Kong  Heritage Project have posted some extracts. Please note the originals are clearer than seen in these links.

Hugh Farmer: I would like to thank Elizabeth for making these films available for public viewing.

Taking photos or filming activities that seem “ordinary” at the time is in my view something to be highly praised. Many will disappear in time. As with these films.

I’ve made a  few notes on each of the films. Feel free to lead me from darkness to blinding light. And to add extra information or queries…

Comments added by:

AL Anthony Lau
RL Rick Law
MM Malcolm Morris
ER Elizabeth Ride

The first is titled Agricultural Life in Hong Kong, 1950s 3.25mins

0.05 What are they carrying?
0.16 What is this village?
0.19 What is the lady carrying?
RL: Straw / small wooden stick
0.22 Same question?
RL: It seems like a shallow wooden barrel without a cover
0.42 What’s the lady on the left collecting?
RL: Maybe she is removing unwanted weed.
0.56 Is this an alternative to ploughing? Or are they digging small ditches to separate small areas of land? These small patches of irrigated land can still be seen especially in the NT.
RL: Yes, sure. But now the scale is much smaller, mainly for growing vegetables
1.01 What’s in the baskets?
ER: It looks like sticks of sugar cane to me.
RL: Maybe it’s small bunches of wood for fuel / some kind of crops
2.26 What’s the location? Why are they waiting?
ER: The St John Ambulance Brigade operated dental clinics in remote areas of the New Territories. These people are waiting while the clinic was being prepared on one of these welfare visits. The dental chair in the film is now in the Medical Museum (the old Bacteriological Institute) so they may be able to provide the name of the village from their records of the provenance.
2.32 What’s the location?
3.17 What is this village?

The second is Duck herding in the New Territories , 1950s 2.21mins

Delightful!

0.16 Our first sight of the very long, elegant duck herding poles. It may be obvious but construction and operation?
MM: It’s pretty clear (but should be stated for the record) that the duck herding poles were bamboo with a rag tied to one end.
0.20 Note the rice threshing behind the ducks.
0.35 Paved roads. Cars. A village. What’s the location?
1.08 A (army?) jeep.
AL:  It is most likely a British Army Jeep. It doesn’t seem likelya civilian owned a Land Rover and was driving in a village at that time.
1.34 A small bus. Public? Private?
AL: It’s a typical KMB Bus with it’s painting
1.50 Baskets, bottom left. Containing?
RL: Basket is a temporary feedlots for ducks on field
2.12 What is this village?
2.15 What’s the person on the right carrying on their right?
RL: Maybe it’s a bunch of straw hung at the end of a wooden pole

Lastly, there is Hong Kong Street Scenes, 1950s 3.29mins

HF: A fascinating silent film of noisy Hong Kong! Contributors to Gwulo.com may already have gone through this film spotting locations, buildings etc with their usual assiduous attention. However I couldn’t find a detailed analysis when I had a quick look, please correct me if I’m wrong.

0.08 Rickshaws!
0.13 What’s the man carrying on his shoulder pole?
0.23 What’s happening here?
RL: I guess men making wreaths
0.27 And here?
RL: Wreaths again
0.33 Two men this time with a shoulder pole. Carrying what?
0.49 Another shoulder pole – blocks of ice.
MM: Transporting ice blocks was still common in the early 70′s but I remember seeing them on hand pushed trolleys rather than on shoulder poles as in the street scenes video.
1.15 It’s not really in view but what’s the young lad doing or selling?
1.29 What’s he carrying?
2.34 What’s the large can for?

See: The Hong Kong Heritage Project

6 Comments

  • Anthony Lau

    For the second film, it is most likely a British Army Jeep. It’s hardly tell a civalian owned a Land Rover and driving in a village at that time. For the bus, it is a typical KMB Bus with it’s painting

  • Elizabeth Ride

    For the first film, 2.26. The St John Ambulance Brigade operated dental clinics in remote areas of the New Territories. These people are waiting while the clinic was being prepared.on one of these welfare visits. The dental chair in the film is now in the Medical Museum (the old Bacteriological Institute) so they may be able to provide the name of the village from their records of the provenance..

  • Elizabeth Ride

    First film again 1.01. It looks like sticks of sugar cane to me.

  • It’s pretty clear (but should be stated for the record) that the duck herding poles were bamboo with a rag tied to one end.

    Transporting ice blocks was still common in the early 70’s but I remember seeing them on hand pushed trolleys rather than on shoulder poles as in the street scenes video.

  • Rick

    For 1st movie clip
    0.19 straw / small wooden stick.
    0.22 Right : It seems a shallow wooden barrel without cover.
    0.42 May be she is removing some unwanted weed.
    0.56 Yes, sure. But now the scale is much smaller, mainly for growing vegetables.
    1.01 May be is a small bunches of woods for fuel / some kind of crops.

    For the 2nd movie clip.
    1.50 : basket is a temporary feedlots for ducks on field.
    2.15 : may be is a bunch of straw hang at the end of wooden pole.

    For the 3rd movie clip.
    0.23 & 0.27 I guess Men making wreath.

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