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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15 comments, add your own...


  1. Hossam says:

    Why are two of the boys in the e first picture doing the Nazi salute?

    • Yusuf M says:

      My thoughts exactly. Can someone shed some light on what was going on in Kuwait in the 1930s historically that a kid knew what a Nazi salute looked like?

      • Sarah says:

        my grandfather told me once that kuwaiti’s during the WW are on hitler’s side because of his stand on jews. this might be the answer to why these kids are doing the nazi salute?

  2. mentabolism says:

    Great find!

  3. A Kuwaiti Lexicographer says:

    Both the reprint of Sons of Sinbad (in English) and its authorized Arabic translation are available at the Centre for Research and Studies of Kuwait. Both can be purchased there.

  4. Kuwait says:

    Awesome pictures! Must’ve been amazing that era.

  5. A Kuwaiti Lexicographer says:

    Check out Joachim Hayward Stocqueler’s books entitled Fifteen Months Pilgrimage through Untrodden Tracts in Khuzistan and Persia… in the Years 1831 and 1832. 2 vols. If I am not mistaken he was the first British navigator to visit Kuwait. They are quite invaluable references.

  6. Jacob says:

    Interesting but every unlikely. However, James Buckingham Silk was in Kuwait sometime in or after 1815 although his book “Travels in Assyria, Media and Persia” was published in 1829 and the second edition in 1830. There is a entire chapter on Kuwait (then Graine). There are online editions to read from but if anyone is looking for a first edition (extremely rare) of this book drop me a line. Same goes for a First Edition / signed copy of Allan Villiers “Sons of Sindbad” ~ 1940.

  7. Ali says:

    Alan also captured some movies in his historical journey, check the below link for some clips of that movies:
    https://www.rmg.co.uk/work-services/picture-library-licensing/film-licensing

  8. Awdah says:

    This is the best thing i’ve seen! Thank you!

  9. TJ says:

    The ‘kids’ in the picture grew up to shift the socio-economic landscape & paradigm of Kuwait and the region. The first few to introduce western ideologies, practice, and governance.

    Lovely post, thank you.

  10. F says:

    In your post:
    https://248am.com/mark/photography/kuwait-in-the-1930s-by-alan-villiers/
    Regarding your comment: “Supposedly there are still thousands of photos taken by him of Kuwait that need to be digitized.”

    What!!! Where? Connect me with the right people Mark. I actually have his book that you mentioned and there are some photos of my great-grandfather giving his back to the camera. I am sure Alan Villiers took more photos that the Greenwich Museum are not showing on their website. I have contacted them for negatives. But I would doubt that they would just give those out.
    Great post as always. Keep it up.


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