Sharjah Fort entrance gates
(Photograph taken in the 1960s at Sharjah in the Trucial States)
The ornamental canon betray the Imperial origins of Sharjah Fort. The gates were of solid steel
and were immune to bedouin maurauders, the small hatch providing access when the gates were closed.
It might seem that such defenses were unneccessary and fanciful, but it should be born in mind that
in the recent past the neighbouring Kingdom of Saudi Arabia had been carved out with the sword from small
sheikdoms just like that of Sharjah.
The lettering on the door has always struck the author as incongruous. He cannot imagine anyone arriving at the fort
- whether by automobile or by camel - with such a burning need to know the London address of IAL that it needed
to be emblazoned on the entrance.
The man seen through the gates is the IAL Shajah Manager, Bill Dent. With him is his salouki,
a magnificent hunting dog that loved to hurtle around the inside of the fort at breakneck speed.