“History doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme.”
— Mark Twain

Dressing up Chinese in Edwardian Britain, 1908

Posted: March 7th, 2019 | No Comments »

The new Channel 5 series brings the black-and-white films of the era back to life through colourisation. And here we are in Accrington, Lancashire in 1908 and a bicycling festival parade celebrating the British Empire. And here we see, colourised a man and woman dressed in Chinese garb of a sort….

here were see a man on a bicycle dressed as a Chinese person (sort of)…he appears to have blacked his face too?


here we see a partial colourisation which highlights his blackened face…

here, in full colourisation, we see a woman riding slightly behind him coming into shot also dressed in Chinese style, but seemingly without a blackened face….

Of course it’s hard to work out the reasoning for what appears to be blackface on the man. I’m also not sure how decisions on colourisation are made by the TV producers – though the black and white picture clearly seems to indicate that the man blacked his face up?

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