x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

A modest home for the capital's mightiest merchant

The story behind the Abu Dhabi Custom House is much older than this photograph, which dates from the early 1960s.

The story behind the Abu Dhabi Custom House is much older than this photograph, which dates from the early 1960s. Long demolished, the building is thought to have been built sometime in the 19th century. It was owned by the al Otaiba family, at the time the wealthiest in Abu Dhabi. Established merchants, they used the building as private offices for their business, trading mostly with India and Iran. The building was turned over to the customs authority sometime between 1956 and 1958.

The car in front is a Land Rover Series 2, the original workhorse of the region, used in particular by the Trucial Scouts. Several dozen working models still survive. The building on the left, still being built, would become the Ottoman Bank, which opened in the city in 1962. It later became Grindlays Bank and was, in turn, taken over by Standard Chartered in 2000. Time frame is a series that opens a window into the nation's past. Each week it will feature an image from the archives of both prominent institutions and private collections.

Readers are also invited to make their contribution and can submit ideas and photographs to yourpics@thenational.ae This article has been corrected on July 17 to reflect the correct series of the pictured Land Rover