Historical Video & Photos: Bermuda In The 1930s

July 26, 2015

Step back some 80 years into the past with this video showcasing Bermuda as it existed in the 1930s, with the 15-minute montage offering an expansive look at island life at that time.

Titled “A Visit to Bermuda,” the video opens with a look around the island, with boats and ships, houses and buildings, and foliage all visible as the camera operator captures different aspects of the Bermuda experience.

Over the course of more than 15 minutes, the footage captures scenes such as Tom Moore’s, the City of Hamilton, a man walking a goat, quarrying, and many examples of the clothes worn by people of the era.

Photo slideshow with 20 screencaps of the video


Helping to give the video a distinctly historic feel is the fact that all transportation captured involves people walking, riding aboard a horse and carriage, or riding bicycles, as cars were not allowed in Bermuda until 1946.

While the video is silent, it does contain text placements to help describe the scenery and offer context, with one text slide saying, “Bermuda is graced with many modern and beautifully located hotels.”

Another says, “The Sea Gardens contain 415 varicolored species of fish-life in the brilliantly clear opal waters, which with the diversified sea-growth, forms a beautiful symphony of color.”

Gif extracted from the video:

The video was filmed by Ellwood Hoffmann; according to the Center for Home Movies, “Mr. Hoffmann [1885-1996] dropped out of school in sixth grade and went to work sweeping the floors at a hosiery mill for 25 cents per week.”

“Mr. Hoffman was eventually able to open his own silk stocking factory in Philadelphia. After retiring at age 50, he was free to pursue his hobbies, which included filming.

15 minute video of Bermuda in the 1930s

“He visited all 50 states and Mexico and Canada filming with a camera mounted to the dashboard of his car. Many groups, including the horticultural society, invited him to share his films which he narrated with humorous stories.

“Unfortunately, he was killed in a car accident when he was 80 years old, but his films live on.”

Other pieces filmed by Mr. Hoffman include the 1944 Republican Convention, a Philadelphia War Bond rally attended by Mickey Rooney, Lucille Ball, Harpo Marx, and other celebrities, and legendary baseball player Babe Ruth in action.

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Comments (9)

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  1. justice for all says:

    Oh wow!!! I enjoyed watching this!

    • Raymond Ray says:

      Yes it certainly was a pleasure viewing. I can only now hope / pray some will acknowledge how much better off we all are today…

      • Onion Juice says:

        Same concept, different era.
        Yes we are better off today, BUT we still have discrimination in the economic and social status.
        We don’t have horse and carriage as our main form of transportation no more and our infrastructure has improved, so YES we are better off today.
        The way how African descendants were treated then to now has improved, but the superiority complex that some whites had is no different then now.
        That was the era when the Labor Movement was in its infant stages, so would’ve been interesting to see some headlines in the media.
        I guess some things will remain hidden.

        • Ed says:

          Same boring rubbish Onion Juice. Moan moan moan.

  2. Oh,I see now says:

    Nothing has changed.

  3. impressive. says:

    Amazing,, Thanks very much for this Bernews.. ;-)

  4. Wondering says:

    Oh wow, that is beautiful. It would be nice if someone would be able to put sound to it and tell us where these places are.

  5. Just a matter of time says:

    Being a history buff, the video was a fantastic glimpse into Bermuda’s past. I wished there was more, I didn’t want it to end…!

  6. Just a matter of time says:

    @ Ray. While some may consider that time period the ‘good ol days’ it was only good for a certain privileged demographic only. And while much has changed, the old adage of the more some things stay the same still persists today.