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Abu Dhabi and Dubai 1964-66

I have heard from an old work colleague and friend, John Smith, he also has a collection of slides from the 60s of Dubai. One of them - a picture of the Clock Tower is already featured in my presentation. He has decided to donate his slides to me for display. They are in the post at this minute and when they arrive I shall, of course, include them. The Clock Tower one, he emailed me at low resolution, when it was not possible to send large files, so I shall scan them all at the highest reasonable resolution and get rid of hundreds of old ones no longer relevant, which are not being displayed in any case, but just stored on the website.

Looking at the site statistics, I see that I am still getting well over 100 hits per day. This being the case, I am going to advertise a few useful, downloadable E-Books - so as to generate a small profit to help with the expenses, I hope anyone who is looking for a job in Dubai will benefit from this one:

A job in Dubai?    

If You are sick and tired of trying to get a job in Dubai and seriously want to work in Dubai, then this may very well be the most important page you will ever read!

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These Photos were taken by me when I first arrived in the Trucial States. January 1965. The Emirates did not become the United Arab Emirates until 1971. I finally left in 2004 but my family and I returned for a short holiday in 2010. This was mainly to show the kids, who are now 11 and 13 (Jan 2011) where they were born and spent their early days.  During the holiday I went back to the Carlton Tower and the Manageress there was kind enough to let me go up to the top floor again - as I did in 1995 and take photos up and down the creek. By now of course there is no view to the rear as the whole area is much higher than the Hotel,   I had noticed that the Website for the Carlton Tower stated that it was built in the Seventies and I queried this with the Manageress. She confirmed it and when I said that I had stayed there in 1965, she said that I must have stayed at the Riviera, which was actually called the Carlton at the time. The two Hotels are next door to each other.

After hearing this I went round to the Riviera and met the Manager there who confirmed what she had said and so I realised that I had been mistaken all these years.  The roof of the Riviera can be seen on the photo looking down the creek that I took in 1995. The Manager was interested in the story and so I have sent him an original photo taken from his hotel when I first stayed there.

I have received a few offers from old friends with pictures that they took.  Any of these are preceded with their names.

Sheikh Zaid became Ruler of Abu Dhabi in August 1966 and at that time I left for a bit, returning in July 1972.  I was able to attend the first National Day celebrations and the Parade on the Corniche.  I was amazed by the changes. (So was everyone else.)

There were very few people taking pictures in 1965 and even fewer in colour, as they had to be sent to Austria for processing! They sometimes came back after three or four weeks.

I had previously bought a nice camera in Singapore, an Asahi Pentax S1 SLR and by this time I knew fairly well, how to use it. I used colour slide film and still have all the originals.  While the images here are only a few Kbs. - there are high resolution ones that will produce a good print on your colour printer, if you have a good one!  I have only put the most popular ones there at the moment. 

Full size prints done by Kodak are about 300 Dhs. for a 50 X 70 cm glossy print.  I charge 100 Dhs for use of the negative or slide and Kodak is at cost.  Some of them are really impressive when blown up big and the Beach Hotel in Abu Dhabi has taken some of them.

By the way, properly framed and presented, a large colour picture of the Old UAE makes a very acceptable present.  I honestly believe there are very few others taken at this time, - just before the major development started, that are available in glorious Technicolor.

Looking round the cities of Abu Dhabi and Dubai, these pictures are almost unbelievable in the changes that they show having taken place, in what is only less than 40 years.

The one time I went to Dubai and took the photos from the roof of the Carlton was a bit interesting and I wrote an account of the trip.  To read it Click Here

The Pictures:​

  • Abu Dhabi Island was joined to the mainland by a causeway. There was a police post and to go to Dubai, - another country, one had to produce a passport. This picture shows the Muqta Crossing. The tower shown is still there and has been re-furbished and can be seen in the sea, from the first of the two bridges that were subsequently built.  The causeway was not very wide, with no rails and it was not unheard of for vehicles to end up in the Sea.


  • The main Jetty in Abu Dhabi, was where the Clock Tower is now.  A lot of boats used to unload on this totally inadequate structure.  in the background are some of the Bank buildings. The biggest one was the British Bank of the Middle East, it was only knocked down in the late 90s.  The Manager at the time, was Alan Ashmole, who was a very versatile and talented individual - a bit eccentric and became a bulldozer driver afterwards for a change.  Where are you Alan? Surprise, surprise, he contacted me after seeing the site. So now I know! 



  • View from the Das Charter (Gulf Aviation Dove) flying over the Town (village?), looking towards the (present) Hilton Hotel.  The only thing that is recognisable and still there is the large water tank which held the water that came all the way from Buraimi oasis. This is located in Khalidia not too far from the Spinney's Supermarket.  I watched them building the mound that it stands on in 1965, from the Decca Navigator Station, where I was the Station Engineer.  Decca was using a different aerial, a triangular guyed 300 ft. mast, but a new tower was built on the same site about 1973 (because the old one was marked on all the old maps). 

  • No reclaimed land at that time, but the little bay at the end of the North West corner, is where the Khalidia Hotel was to be built the next year. 1966.



  •    Taken from the roof of the BP Arabian Agency Depot Engineer's house, this shows his depot and not too far away the famouse Beach Hotel.  This was located where the old Corniche hospital is now. We are looking towards the town (village) and the port road that was later constructed would be running a bit to the left of the picture.            


  • The main street in Abu Dhai 1966.  The road from the Muqta crossing came up the island and came into the town not far from the Ruler's Palace (Shk. Shakput).  Then it wound through the souk and ended up where the Clock Tower is now, - see the appropriate picture.

  • My Decca Landrover is parked on the right. This was a lot more civilised than the Dodge Power Wagon, but not half as much fun.  It still did not have air conditioning.           


  • Our famous Dodge Fargo Power Wagon. Circa 1953 ?  Huge wheels very low ratio 4 wheel drive and would drive up the side of a house, with the tyres let down to a few PSI it was more like driving a boat across the dunes, it was almost unstoppable.  In the background the Decca Navigator Transmitter Aerial and the Water tank that was constructed to store the water that came all the way from Buraimi Oasis.       



  • Side view of the Carlton Hotel, taken by John Smith in 1967 He says it was taken from the Sheikha Latifa building.  I am going to ask him if he can get the slide scanned again, as it is not exactly high res. Development of the creekside had obviously started by this time


  • This is the Carlton Hotel on the creek in Dubai in 1995.  I went back and took some pictures from the roof to compare with those I had taken from the (lower) roof in 1965. I thought this is where I had stayed, but in fact it had been in the Riviera to the left.   The following pictures were taken using the same viewpoint and camera and lens and so it is easy to locate where things were and are.  I intend to go back in 2005 and ask if I can go up to their roof - yet again and take another set. For this view,  I was standing with my back to the creek.   Taking a picture of the wrong Hotel!     



  • Down Dubai creek, from the roof of the (about) 6 story Carlton Hotel.  The shape of the creek can be clearly seen as can the quiet inactivity of it all.  One or two Abbras are plying for trade, but not much else is moving.  Note the non UAE Flags. They look like Abu Dhabi ones.




  • Down Dubai Creek, from the roof of the Carlton Tower, about 14 stories. (1995)  Same aspect same camera, (Asahi Pentax, but a newer model 55mm. lens.)  My word - how it has changed!   Stay tuned for the 2005 Pictures.    The actual roof of the Carlton from where the 1965 photos were taken is just next door, and by this time was called the Riviera 



  • Looking up Dubai Creek towards the Maktoum Bridge, The Dubai Clock Tower is just outside the picture on the left hand side, (don't worry I have it on another slide), the same frenetic pace of life is obvious.       



  • Up Dubai Creek 1995. Impossible to see the Clock Tower, even if it was not off the picture, all these big buildings spoil the view - don't they, just as well they can't build any in the Creek.  Note the bridge is now doubled up.          


  • This photo links up with the previous old one showing the view up the creek and although the 1995 one is all skyscrapers and so I have not included it, this one shows the view all the way to the Dubai Clock Tower.  It is just to the right of centre almost on the horizon. Very clear on the enlargement. I drove right by the Clock Tower a few weeks ago and almost missed it as it so surrounded by new buildings.  It was all pretty open in 1965!          


  • A closeup of the Clock Tower in all it's splendour, long before it became surrounded by high rise buildings and almost lost in the concrete jungle. This picture was taken by John Smith, an old friend of mine when he was in Dubai in about 1967. I don't know if it could be improved, but he emailed it to me and it is not very high resolution.



  • The view behind the Carlton looking towards the open sea 1965.  In the middle distance is the top minaret of a Mosque.  clearly visible in the sky.      


  • Same view as previous one, but taken in 1995. If you look very closely, (easy to see on the enlargement), right in the middle of the picture is the same Minaret on the same Mosque.  Probably the only thing still there!      

Bigger Image



  • Das Charter Abu Dhabi, Das, Bahrain, on Das 1965  It is a Dove made by DeHaviland, which I may have mis-spelt!        



  • Das Harbour, looking a bit like it does today,  But it was taken in 1965, as those who know Das will appreciate.  It's a bit difficult to visit it now of course, but in those days there were very few restrictions. Note the Bristows Helicopter Rotor getting in the way of the photo.        








  • Das 1965. There was actually a guy living besides these barrels. Some of the tanks in the background are still there, - they have been painted a few times, but look the same.      


  • Southern end of the Island of Das 1965. The harbour is just off the picture to the left.  You can see the three Decca Masts in the distance. Instead of one big 300 foot tower, because of all the air traffic, 3 small masts were linked together to provide the Transmitter Aerial





  • Clearly visible on this picture of Das 1965 is the Decca Navigator Station,  - the Transmitter / Receiver Romm and the 3 masts. Also the Blue VW van that we used to drive around the Island.       

 From a Bristows Helicopter,  Tanks and one of the Decca Mast


  • Pictures of Abu Dhabi, - taken from the roof of a tall building under construction in 1984,- near the "Onion Tank" that was, and The Meridian Hotel. 

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