Daily Archives: May 11, 2009

Barbados 1930 – YouTube Travel Film Archive

Barbados Film Archive

See The World The Way It Was

Thanks to our friend over at Trinidad. Adventist. Gay?! blog we spent an hour yesterday at The Travel Film Archive. What a wonderful experience to see travel films and people from as far back as over 100 years ago. Pan American Airways “Clipper” flights to the Caribbean in the post-war 1940’s, Bed and breakfast in Iran in the 1930’s, Peruvian mountain villages in the 1950’s and Barbados, Trinidad and Cuba in the 1930’s.

It is all there and you should spend an hour or two if only to see how far we have come. As the introduction at the website points out, many of the films were created in a time of colonialism. The narration and images sometimes reflect that with many “happy Negros dancing for the tourists”, diving for pennies, caddying for white golfers and serving poolside drinks. You get the picture.

But that was the world as seen through the lenses of American, British and French travellers with their 8mm and 16mm cameras. Not to be missed in our natural disgust at some of the images though are snippets of life, people and places as they were in the Caribbean. True, they are travel logs of their eras and show only the best for tourism advertising, but I don’t see anyone frightened to walk alone in rural areas, nor do I see garbage and abandoned appliances on the roadside.

Spend an hour and remind yourself about some of the good and the bad about past life in the Caribbean.

The Travel Film Archive

Travel back in time and around the world with The Travel Film Archive. The Travel Film Archive is a collection of travelogues and educational and industrial films — many of them in color – that show the world the way it was between 1900 and 1970. Our holdings include archives of the renowned travel filmmakers Burton Holmes, Andre de la Varre, and James A. FitzPatrick, as well as footage shot by many other intinerant cameramen.

Please keep in mind that the narration for some of these films was written over 75 years ago and reflects the colonial attitudes of the time, some of which may seem offensive today. The Travel Film Archive presents these as historical artifacts and does not endorse or condone any point of view conveyed by the films.


Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, History