Violet Dickson Collection

Scope and Content

Photocopy of a TS account of Violet Dickson’s family history; MS description of each photograph album; 12 photograph albums, 1956-1981, mainly covering Kuwait but also including a small amount of photographs taken in Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Dubai, Sharjah, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Iran, Iraq, Yemen as well as photographs of European countries and Africa.

Administrative / Biographical History

Dickson, Dame Violet Penelope (1896-1991)

Born 3 September 1896 the second daughter of Neville Lucas Calcraft (1844-1909). Education by Swiss Governess, High School, Woodhall Spa and Pensionnat les Charmettes at Vevey. Returned to England in 1914. Worked in Smith’s Bank, Lincoln in 1915 then worked for the banking firm of Cox & Cox in Marseilles in 1918. Married Harold Dickson in 1920 at Bombay. Went to Hilla on the Euphrates in Iraq. Stayed a short time in Bahrain before going on leave to Switzerland where her son Hanmer was born in 1923. Harold and Violet Dickson then moved to India where Harold was posted to the 2/2 Punjab Regiment stationed at Quetta. Harold Dickson was then seconded to be Private Secretary to the Maharajah of Bikaner and tutor to his second son. In 1925 their daughter Zahra was born. In 1929 Violet Dickson moved to Bushire where Harold had been appointed as Secretary to the Political Resident, Persian Gulf. On 22 May 1929 they arrived in Kuwait upon Harold’s appointment as Political Agent there. Violet Dickson authored two books: The Wild Flowers of Kuwait and Bahrain (London: Allen & Unwin, 1955) and Forty Years in Kuwait (London: Allen & Unwin, 1971). In 1942 Violet Dickson was awarded the M.B.E, in 1961 the Lawrence of Arabia medal from the Royal Central Asian Society, in 1965 the C.B.E. and in 1976 she was made a Dame of the British Empire for her lifelong work amongst the Arabs. Died 4 January 1991.


As received. Family history, description of photographs and numbered albums.

Access Information


For further information on how to use the Middle East Centre Archive, please see our Archon entry at

Acquisition Information

Received from H. Y. W. S. D. Dickson on 5 March 2004.

Other Finding Aids

Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements

Some fading of colour photographs.

Archivist's Note

Fonds level description created by Debbie Usher April 2004. Album level description supplied by H. Y. W. S. D. Dickson. Biographical history compiled from the family history.

Conditions Governing Use

No restrictions on copying or quotation other than statutory regulations and preservation concerns

Custodial History

In the possession of the Dickson family.

Related Material

In Middle East Centre Archive

GB165-0085 Harold Dickson Collection (husband)

GB165-0086 John Dickson Collection (father-in-law)


Dickson, Violet The Wild Flowers of Kuwait and Bahrain (London: Allen & Unwin, 1955)

Dickson, Violet Forty Years in Kuwait (London: Allen & Unwin, 1971)