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

10 responses to “Barbados 1930 – YouTube Travel Film Archive

  1. Duppy Lizard

    I do believe I saw a white boy diving for pennies in the video…….

  2. ANON

    “……..nor do I see garbage and abandoned appliances on the roadside.”

    As you said, “…But that was the world as seen through the lenses of American, British and French travellers with their 8mm and 16mm cameras”

    At that time they did not want to embarass their caucasian hosts.

  3. Hey thanks! Does Barbados have a functioning National Archives?

  4. BFP

    Hey TAG,

    We have a Barbados Museum, but whether that includes film and video archives, I don’t know. I do know that we have hundreds of irreplaceable books, records and journals at the museum that have never been scanned or databased and that will be lost forever the next time a big blow comes through. I understand that many of the old film stocks from the 20s and 30s will be totally rotted out in ten years if they aren’t already. I saw a television special about how Hollywood and the US National Archives are in a race with time to save as much as they can, but there is so much and only so many films can be digitized per year.

    Sad to think that we haven’t even been able to put in place a programme of volunteers to prioritize, database and scan our historic documents at the Museum. Again, about film and video archives, I don’t know.


  5. Patrick

    If you enjoy the Travel Film Archive you will also
    like this site: . Lots of historical photos of Barbados and other caribbean islands.

  6. TheNickster

    No fat government contracts to give out for the job that’s why there isn’t a real rush to rescue those archives, of course similar to the online tax return system someone will have a brain fart and make a mad rush to do it to save face to some foreigner.

  7. 214

    Please allow me to tell you that the World Wide Church of the Seventh Day Adventist follows God’s word, and as it says in the Holy Bible a male shall not lie with another male, so it with great irony that I see Trinidad gay promoting himself as a Seventh Day Adventist.

    He is not longer a Seventh Day Adventist if he is an active homosexual, and therefore, should stop the charade of promoting himself as an Adventist. He has allowed the devil to take hold of his senses, and as such he heart is no longer pure, but let me remind him that Jesus died on Calvary to save him from sin, so I would like to ask him to seek out Jesus in order to turn his mind away from sin. I will pray for him.

  8. Well if the US is struggling, what will happen to us?
    I had hoped Barbados would be in better shape with regards to history and preservation than Trinidad and Tobago. In fact, maybe you are, because I couldn’t even tell you what was in our Museum (although I visited it as a kid).

    It is very small–too small to hold enough of our history.

  9. Interesting. To be fair you should probably take this discussion to my blog so as not to derail this post.

  10. nik

    Oh. My. Goodness. I guess you’ve never actually read ANYTHING on his blog. Because if you had taken the time to actually VISIT it, you’d see that he is 1) single, 2)not “fornicating” all over the place, 3)says that he has issues with certain gay people (those in relationships) saying that God’s OK with their relationships, and even rebukes them, and 4)has a lot of interesting things to say about his trial and tribulations. Oh and I forgot to mention that 5)he doesn’t like people interpreting the Bible in a way to validate their own lusts. But, then again, you’d have to actually READ his blog for that.

    214, you are part of the problem, as you are judgmental and rather hypocritical. And just so you know, sinners are Adventists. The SDA Church is not a hotel for saints, but for those who struggle. But don’t worry about responding, I’ll just say a prayer for you.