You appear to be using a browser that is no longer supported. You may find that you are unable to use all features on the site. We recommend upgrading or changing your browser, if possible.
Skip to main content
Search... Open this section

Colportage Society: Open-Air Missions

The Colportage Society preaches to a crowd gathered on the beach, 1964

  • Print All


Shot by James Clark of the Scottish Colportage Society on his tours around Scotland as a colporter/evangelist. Footage documenting the work of the Colportage Society telling Biblical stories to a crowd of parents and children on the beach. There are several shots of the crowd during the clip. Singers perform with guitars from a small wooden hut, before speakers tell Bible stories with the aid of a large book of pictures and illustration of a crucifix. After a speech from the Minister, a female speaker then tells a story with an illustration made with detachable figures, before we see shots of Colportage mobile vans. The footage then shifts to another, more inland location and there is a memorial service to Stanley Southgate during which a woman unveils a small gravestone in the shape of a book, with the words "A Good Soldier of Jesus Christ." For those who wish to research further into the work of the society, James Clark wrote his autobiography entitled "From Pit Boy to Preacher".

Questions & Activities


  • What is Colportage? Where does the name Colportage come from and what does it mean?
  • What do you think is happening in this clip? Give your reasons.
  • Where do you think the people have come from?
  • What are the reactions of the people in the crowds?
  • What is evangelism? What countries do you associate with evangelism?


History / RME: Research the history of the Colportage Society and present your findings as a powerpoint presentation using extracts from the film, or illustrated talk or film.

Geography: Find out where the Colportage Society held their open-air missions and plot these on a map. Find out why they were held in these particular locations.

RME: Debate the differences between a cult and religion? Do you think there are negative associations with one or the other? Discuss why we have a different view on a religion and a cult.

RME: In groups, debate where the beliefs of each member of the group might have come from.

RME: Research other religious groups/organisations and compare and contrast them to the work of the Colportage Society.

RME: Examine other belief systems other than Christianity. How do these belief systems work and what are their beliefs?

Clip Details

Record Id 007-000-002-357-C
Resource Rights Holder Third Party Copyright Holder licensed by National Library of Scotland
Project Ref 2938
Date 1964 (public worship)
Genre Amateur, Documentary
School Subject Religious and Moral Education, History, Social Studies, Geography
Who James Clark (film maker and evangelist)
Where Troon
Event Religion, Religion
Attributes Colour, Silent
Clip Length 2:56
Film Length 2:56