Rod Northway's 1968 Dubai

Rod Northway lived in Dubai from 1968 to 1970. He went to work for Sir William Halcrows and Partners. Rod operated the Site Laboratory in the initial stages of Port Rashid's Construction. Rod recalls how Dubai used to be through his old photographs and slides he has recovered and restored.

Rod recalls Dubai as it used to be 1968-70

When we arrived in Dubai in 1968, my wife and I moved into an Apartment in the Sheikh Ahmed Building on Deira side. We had a clear view across Dubai Creek to the British Political Agency. There was no Television in those days but we were able to go to open air film shows in the Political Agency Gardens from time to time. We moved to an Apartment in the nearly completed Khansaheb Building at the back of Shindagah in 1969. This apartment looked out onto the last traditional Barasti homes in Shindagha. Dubai Government removed these traditional homes during 1969-70 as part of their modernisation programme. We could also look across to Port Rashid and could see the big Manitowoc Crane slowly building Port Rashid's new Main Break Water.

My Laboratory was in a beachside Villa on Jumeirah Beach. This Villa had previously been Bill Duff's family home. It was one of three Villas built to house Sheikh Rashid's Financial Advisor (Bill Duff), his State Engineer (Eric Tulloch) and the Headmistress of the English Speaking School (Dorothy Miles). Jumeirah Beach was now part of the Port Rashid Construction Site so these three Villas became Construction Site Offices. Costain Construction (the Contractors for Port Rashid) had their main Site offices in the building that had previously housed Dubai's first English Speaking School. ESS had been relocated to near Rashid Hospital.

Behind my Laboratory was the Stabit Yard. Stabits were 15 ton Concrete Structures used to protect Port Rashid's new Breakwaters from the sea's potentially damaging wave action. Stabits were cast on site then transported to the breakwater. There they were put into place by the Manitowoc Crane. Considerably more Stabits were placed under the sea than above it! Thousand of Stabits were made for the Port Rashid Project. Near to the Stabit Yard and the Main Site Office were the Tennis Court and a Squash Court - Dubai's first Squash Court. I played squash there at sunrise every Friday – by breakfast time it was too hot to play! I also played cricket in Sharjah in the Darjeeling Cricket Club that later evolved into the Sharjah Cricket Club.

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