Kuwait in the 1930s by Alan Villiers

Post by Mark

Alan Villiers (spot him above) was an Australian adventurer who came to Kuwait in the 1930s. He ended up joining the crew of the Kuwaiti dhow ‘Triumph of Righteousness’ and set sail with them, passing through numerous East African and Arabian ports documenting his experience with words and pictures. He eventually published the book “Sons of Sindbad” as well as “Sons of Sindbad: The Photographs”. I only found out about Alan a couple of days ago and was really intrigued by his story especially since I hadn’t heard of him before.

You can find both his books on Amazon [Here] and [Here] but, you can also find some great photos of Kuwait taken by him in the 1930s similar to the ones in this post. The photos are from the National Maritime Museum (Greenwich) and are available to purchase. So if you want to check out Alan’s photos of Kuwait, click [Here]

Supposedly there are still thousands of photos taken by him of Kuwait that need to be digitized.

Update: Supposedly both books are available for sale at the Al Hashemi Marine Museum.

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Al Kawakeb Ice Cream and Dessert Shop

Post by Mark

Al Kawakeb is an old ice cream and dessert shop in the city which you’ve probably passed by a number of times on your way to Vol.1 or Street (AlMakan) for dinner. The place has been open since the 50s and their display is filled with old nostalgic sweets.

BROWNBOOK have published a great article on the history of Al Kawakeb along with some great photos. I had no idea the shop was that old and I’m definitely going to appreciate it a lot more now that I’ve read this article. So check it out on their website [Here]

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Videos: Kuwait – 1977 and 1997

Post by Mark

The picture above was emailed to me a few days ago by a reader who grew up in Kuwait in the 1950s. It was taken at the Anglo-American School in Ahmadi in the early 1950s. The headmistress was called Miss Ussher while he’s the little kid in the bottom right in the white shirt and shorts (Norman Young). Next to him are his classmates Ian Hickman, David Tristram and Marcia Brown.

Anyway, it’s been awhile since I’ve posted an old video of Kuwait, but they’re pretty hard to come by. I’ve decided to share two videos below, one is of Kuwait in 1977 while the other is of Kuwait in 1997. Is 1997 considered old? I’m not sure anymore. Below are the videos and their timelines in case you want to skip through them:

Kuwait – 1977
0:09 Old port
0:47 Al Sabah Hospital
1:12 Gold market (looks like Souk Mubarakiya)
1:50 Fahad Al Salem Street
2:20 Sheraton Hotel
2:25 Kuwait Towers under construction
2:33 Villas under construction
2:52 Arriving at persons home
3:50 Gas station
3:55 Car dealership
4:39 Gas station

Kuwait – 1997
0:00 Seaside – Bnied Al-Gar
1:27 Cityscape
2:45 Green Island and the sea
5:21 Old Salmiya
6:07 Al Salam Building
6:32 Old Salmiya
7:47 Hungry Bunny
8:32 Entertainment City

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archofkuwait: Bait Ghaith

Post by Mark

I’ve seen this building a bunch of times and always wondered what it was. The below was taken from archofkuwait:

Bait Ghaith Bin Abdullah Bin Yousif was built in the 1930s. It is located in Sharq, near the Museum of Modern Art, which was previously Al Sharqiah School for Girls.

Bait Ghaith is one of the old Kuwaiti houses and represents social, economic and cultural features of Kuwaiti society in the past. The house features an intertwined architectural layout typical of the original urban structures in old Kuwait City, particularly in terms of its empty space, its multifunctional features and the way it was built.

The house is located on a 280 sq.m. of land and was adjacent to several stores and houses including the Rashid Al Omer, Humoud Al Mutawa’, and Abdullah Al Madhi houses. The house of the late Ghaith Bin Abdullah Bin Yousif comprised a backyard, two rooms, a store, a bathroom, a kitchen and an upper room for his privacy. The house also contained a cistern to store water.

Ghaith bin Abdullah Bin Yousif was a merchant who used to buy goods and merchandise such as fruits, crates… etc. from ports and ship it to various countries by boats.

Today the Ghaith house maintains its characteristic architectural features, such as the wooden ceiling, the beams, and some of the wooden doors. In addition, the rooms still present the original construction of walls made of sea rocks. The National Council for Culture, Arts and Letters refurbished and maintained the building as an example of the old Kuwaiti architecture.

Bait Ghaith before restoration, 2005

For a few more pictures, click [Here]

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Shaab Park Before Shaab Park

Post by Mark

A couple of weeks back I posted about how Shaab Park was shutting down for good and that I had memories and photos of the park from back in the 80s. Well I ended up finding one picture, I’m guessing taken around 1985 since I look like I’m 7 or so I guess? (I’m in white). The park back then was literally just a park, it wasn’t fenced up or anything, it was just a large green area with a handful of rides and play areas.

The building in the background was the Abdullah Al-Salem School which was demolished back in 2014 to make way for they new Abdullah Al-Salem Cultural Centre that’s opening up next month.

For a higher resolution of the photo, click [Here]

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Ice Skating Rink Arcade

Post by Mark

Someone tagged me on this short video the other day that shows parts of the ice skating rink arcade area during the early 90s. If you used to hang out at the ice skating rink back then like I did, then you’ll appreciate this.

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Culture in the Wake of the Kuwaiti Oil Boom

Post by Mark

A friend of mine sent me a link to an article in Bidoun magazine on the history of The Sultan Gallery and the art scene back in the 1970s. I already knew the gallery had an interesting history and I remember I wanted to post about it but I don’t know why I never did.

If you’re into art or historical articles on Kuwait, then you’ll definitely like this article. [Link]

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Reconnecting After 60Years

Post by Mark


Last week I started getting comments under an old post of mine on life in Kuwait back in the 1950s. When I went through the comments I found something incredibly cool, kids who grew up in Kuwait together in the 1950s were reconnecting together in the comments under the posts. Not only that but other people who grew up during the era were also leaving their stories under those posts. How amazing is that?

If you haven’t read those posts before I’d recommend you do, and once you’re done reading them just go through the comments to read the conversations and other stories from that era. Here are the links:

Life in Kuwait back in the 1950s – Part 1
Life in Kuwait back in the 1950s – Part 2

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Petrol Filling Company by Pace

Post by Mark

The other day while trying to get more information on the new Jazeera Airways terminal I checked out the website of the architects behind the project and ended up finding some old photos from really old projects they had worked on. One series of photos I liked was of a gas station they had designed. I couldn’t find any information on this project but I’m assuming it was completed in the 50s or 60s. You can check out all the photos by clicking “read the rest” below or visit their website for photos of their other projects [Here]

Read the rest of this entry »

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Kuwait 1985-88

Post by Mark

Kuwait City 1987. Vintage store front.

Mark Lowey (AbuJack), a construction project management professional and an amateur photographer lived in Kuwait between 1985 and 1988. The past few months he’s been scanning and posting some of the pictures he took during his time in Kuwait (and KSA) on his twitter account. I’ve taken a few of his photos along with the captions and shared them here but you can check out more photos on his twitter account @molowey

High technology in 1987?

A man and his dog, Mangaf Beach, Kuwait in 1988.

Shopping in Fahaheel, 1988.

Jack bin Mark and neighbor friends in Mangaf, Kuwait, 1988. (One cool kid has a sling-shot.)

Toshiba power plant at Mina Al-Zoor in southern Kuwait. Under construction in 1985; nearly completed in 1987.

Kids-R-Us, Kuwait City in 1985.

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