The KOC Archive: Ahmadi Drive-In Theater

Post by Mark

drive-in

These are the last photos I have from the KOC archive and they’re of the Ahmadi Drive-In Theater before it opened. In the photos the drive-in construction had been completed and looks like they were installing the AC system and setting up the projectors.

If you want to see how the theater looks like today, I passed by back in 2012 and took some photos. You can check that post [Here]. Not sure what the state of the theater is today, there were rumblings that it was going to get demolished to build a new mall. I know it sounds like I’m joking but I’m not, thats actually what I had heard.

To check out all the photos I’ve shared so far from the KOC archive, click [Here]


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The KOC Archive: The Old Kuwait Airport

Post by Mark

oldairport

This is part of the last bunch of photos I have from my last trip to the KOC photography archive. I should pass by and get some more but for now, here are some old photos of the old Kuwait airport. Not sure where this airport was located so if someone could let us know that would be great.


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The KOC Archive: Old Kuwait (Part 3)

Post by Mark

oldkuwiat3

This is the last batch, part three of the three part series I’ve called “Old Kuwait”. All the photos below were taken during my visit to the KOC Photography Archive.


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The KOC Archive: Old Kuwait (Part 2)

Post by Mark

oldkuwait2

Here is the second part of the three part series “Old Kuwait”. All the photos below are from the KOC Photography Archive.


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The KOC Archive: Old Kuwait (Part 1)

Post by Mark

oldkuwait1

Because I can be so disorganized sometimes, I completely forgot about the photos I had gotten on my visit to The KOC Photography Archive back in 2014! I have a folder with around 175 photos of old Kuwait which I will be sharing in three parts, this is Part 1.


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The KOC Archive: The Ahmadi Post Office

Post by Mark

ahmadipostoffice

These are some photos of the Ahmadi post office I got from my last trip to the KOC photography archive. They’re probably dated back to the early 1960s.


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The KOC Archive: Magwa Hospital – Ahmadi

Post by Mark

magwa

I’m in contact with one of my readers who has some old photos of Ahmadi and I’ll be posting some every now and then. Kinda like what I was supposed to do with the KOC Archive posts which I realized I’ve completely forgotten about. Anyway this post is about the Ahmadi Hospital and this is what he had to say about it:

magwa2

Ahmadi Hospital is known to many people especially the oil sector. Ahmadi Hospital was in inaugurated in April 1960 by Kuwait Oil Company and was called then “Southwell Hospital” after Kuwait Oil Company Sir Philip Southwell who was KOC president from 1946 to 1959. Sometime during the 80’s it was changed to “Ahmadi Hospital”

Before the hospital was built in Ahmadi town, KOC had a hospital in Magwa area (North Ahmadi Town, separated with Kuwait airport by the 7th ring road). That is where I was born and many others in that period. Attached are some pictures of Magwa Hospital.

I’ve also uploaded the two photos of the hospital staff in high resolution in case you’re interested in seeing them up close. You can view those [Here] and [Here]


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The KOC Archive: Kuwait’s Old Police Force

Post by Mark

police

I’m going to start sharing some of the photos I got from my last trip to the KOC photography archive. This group of photos in this post are of the old Kuwaiti police force, I don’t have a specific date but I’d say the photos were probably taken in the 60s.

Photos courtesy of the KOC Information Team.


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The KOC Photography Archive

Post by Mark

koc2

Earlier today I visited the Kuwait Oil Company offices in Ahmadi since a friend of mine helped me get permission to access their full photography archive. So, I headed there with my portable hard drive expecting to find a few interesting images that I’d copy and then leave. That didn’t exactly happen and I’m not sure I have the words to explain what I saw.

They have two rooms, the main archive room and a smaller negatives room. The negatives room is covered with drawers that are filled with film negatives of every event thats ever occurred in Ahmadi from the late 30s up till now. By every event I literally mean every event, every party, every play, every school activity, every PR activity… EVERYTHING. They’ve literally been documenting Ahmadi since Ahmadi started. Not only that but they’ve also been documenting Kuwait so there are a tons of old photos from all around Kuwait like the old market, Entertainment City, Muthana Complex, etc… you name it and they most likely will have it (except for photos of Kids R’ Us which I looked for and didn’t find). The room is extremely organized with different drawers containing different kind of activities so for example the negatives for the Social Activities are all located in two columns of drawers (around 8 drawers high). The highest drawer contains the oldest photos while the lowest drawer the newest. Each envelope is dated and has a description of what’s inside and there are over 300,000 negatives of which only around 50,000 have been digitized so far. The reason they didn’t lose majority of the archive during the 1990 invasion is because employees took boxes filled with negatives and hid them in their homes until the war was over.

koc1

I spent a bit of time flipping through the drawers but the majority of the time I was sitting in the main room where a computer is connected to their server containing all the digitized copies of the images. Finding photos involves searching for something specific, so for example you search for the word “market” and the database will pull out a list of names of all the envelopes that have the word market in them. You then read the descriptions and if you find one that is related to what you’re looking for, you need to copy the number and then go to a certain folder on the hard drive and search for that number to pull up the images. It’s not a very quick task at all.

So anyway, this is whats going to happen. Right now I have a hard drive filled with images from today which I am going to start posting next week probably under the heading “The KOC Archive” or something like that. I also told them I would visit them at least once a month so I could continue to dig through their archive. If there is anything specific you guys want me to find let me know and I’ll write it down and look for it on my next visit.


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Old Kuwait is Digitally Disappearing

Post by Mark

Yesterday I was trying to find an article I had posted about an event that took place in Kuwait back in 1974. A friend of mine works right next to Souk Al Kabeer in Kuwait City and I thought she would be interested to know that during the construction of the building back in 74, it collapsed during the night while the construction workers were asleep and killed I believe around 40 or 50 people (I think?). I couldn’t find the article but the video above is taken from the AP archive shot that morning showing the aftermath.

I was flipping page by page through my 50s to 90s category on the blog trying to find the article and I couldn’t for some reason. But, I did realize something important, a lot of the videos of old Kuwait I had linked to or a lot of links to photo galleries of old Kuwait on other websites or blogs were now dead and no longer available.

familybookshop

It’s rare and difficult enough finding these treasures and so its pretty sad that many of them are no longer available to view. I was pissed off at myself and disappointed that I didn’t think of downloading or saving backups or hosting the images myself. I always considered it bad etiquette to find images on another blog and then host them all myself, I thought the proper thing to do would be to link back to the blog instead and send people there. Now I regret doing that, I shouldn’t trust other people with the responsibility of archiving history.

Thinking out loud I tweeted that I should probably set up a GoFundMe account where all the money collected would be used to purchase old footage and photos of Kuwait from the likes of Huntley Film Archives, Periscope Film, AP Archive, various Flickr accounts and the likes and then store them somewhere in the cloud for everyone to access and where it could remain permanently.

But then we’re back in the same situation, where you’re trusting a person (in this case me) to maintain and keep this archive, but what if something happens to me? Say for example one day while driving down the Gulf Road and my Datsun bursts into flames and I die, that means I won’t be able to continue to pay for hosting and maintaining that archive. Actually thats whats going to happen with my blog as well, probably stay up a month or two after I die, and then it would disappear forever along with the 10,000+ posts and over 200,000 of your comments.

This is why I think there needs to be a non profit organization that is responsible for archiving these important items. And I’m not talking about historically important films and artifacts, I’m talking about general random everyday stuff that people wouldn’t think of archiving from old Hardees ads to some guys family photos from the 60s (they’re wonderful). They don’t sound like very important items to archive but I personally think they are. They’re everyday life from a different era.

There actually might be a local organization that is doing this and I’m just not aware of it but I doubt it. KOC have a great in-house archive department which is extremely organized and one I’ve visited and written about [Here], but they are archiving their own content and not other peoples.

Anyway, what I’m trying to say is an organization needs to be established and if anyone ever decides to do it then please invite me to be part of it. For now I’m going to spend this weekend skimming through my old 50s to 90s posts and make sure everything I’ve linked to I’ve also mirrored on my blog so if the source is dead the information is still here.


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