Williamson's films of the Himalayas

Frederick Williamson's films of Sikkim, Bhutan and Tibet

New Presented below are edited film clips from Frederick Williamson's travels in Sikkim, Bhutan and Tibet. Williamson was a British Colonial Officer based in Gangtok, Sikkim, from 1930 to 1935, during which time he took a great number of photographs and 23 reels of 16mm cine film. The quality of the footage is variable: the film stock is old, and although it has been in a temperature controlled environment for at least a decade, the joins are coming apart and the stock is deteriorating. Moreover, 16mm film was prohibitively expensive in the 1930s and Williamson was parsimonious with the volume he shot, resulting in rather short bursts of sequential activity. Nevertheless, the footage is fascinating and he succeeded in documenting three Himalayan kingdoms at a historically important time.

Williamson and his wife, Peggy, wrote notes in shorthand on each of the 23 film canisters, and these are also available online to help viewers locate the geographical position of the footage and the date that it was shot.

Please be advised that these film clips are large files and suitable primarily for users with broadband connections. While we have set the default on the QuickTime clips to partial download and fast start, we do not recommend viewing them on dial-up modem connections (56k and below).

The film clips available here are in QuickTime format. If you do not have QuickTime, click here to download it from Apple.


© University of Cambridge
click here to read canister notes Gangtok Residency, Sikkim, and Gyantse, Tibet, 1931.

© University of Cambridge
click here to read canister notes Gyantse and west Tibet, 1931-1932.

© University of Cambridge
click here to read canister notes Gangtok, Sikkim, and Lepchas. 1931 & 1933.

© University of Cambridge
click here to read canister notes Ha, Bhutan. 1933.

© University of Cambridge
click here to read canister notes Paro, Bhutan 1936.

© University of Cambridge
click here to read canister notes Tongsa and Bumthang, Bhutan. 1933.

© University of Cambridge
click here to read canister notes Yamdrok Tso and Lhasa,
Tibet. 1933.

© University of Cambridge
click here to read canister notes Inspecting Tibetan troops near Lhasa, Tibet. 1933.

© University of Cambridge
click here to read canister notes Sera, Yamdrok Tso, Lhasa, and Samding Tibet. 1933.

© University of Cambridge
click here to read canister notes Gyantse, Tibet, and Gangtok, Sikkim. 1933.

© University of Cambridge
click here to read canister notes Sakya and Shigatse, Tibet. 1934.

© University of Cambridge
click here to read canister notes Shigatse and Gyantse Tibet. 1934.

© University of Cambridge
click here to read canister notes Ha, Bhutan, and Gangtok, Sikkim, 1934.

© University of Cambridge
click here to read canister notes Inspecting troops, Tibet. 1934.

© University of Cambridge
click here to read canister notes Tibet. 1934.

© University of Cambridge
click here to read canister notes Yamdrok Tso, Tibet. 1934.

© University of Cambridge
click here to read canister notes Tsang Po, Tsetang, Samye, Tibet. 1935.

© University of Cambridge
click here to read canister notes Camp at Nyenyo, Tibet. 1935.

© University of Cambridge
click here to read canister notes Potala, Tibet, 1935.

© University of Cambridge
click here to read canister notes Tsarong, Drepung, Tibet. 1935.

© University of Cambridge
click here to read canister notes Sera, Tibet. 1935.

© University of Cambridge
click here to read canister notes Potala, Regent, Tibet. 1935/1936.

© University of Cambridge
click here to read canister notes Dekyi Lingka, Tibet. 1935.