Badr Ghulum Suleiman was a traditional folk medicine therapist and barber who set up his business in Muharraq in 1912. In the absence of modern medical services in Muharraq, his residence, Badr Ghulum House, progressively gained the character of a small health clinic, and today it contains the city’s earliest remaining structures built for the purpose of medical provision.
Among the many members of the pearling community, rich and poor, who sought treatment at Badr Ghulum House were pearl divers seeking relief from the pain and suffering they endured from long-term diving afflictions such as lung, eye and skin diseases. The clinic was one of the rare locations where everybody was welcomed equally and treated with dedication and respect.
The history of the property, still owned by the Ghulum family, illustrates the expansion of the family activity in several construction phases up to the most recent, which saw the treatment room rebuilt in coral stone. This room, still preserved today, contained the apothecary, where herbal and mineral pastes and syrups used in treatments were prepared.
The house with its flourishing courtyard garden is embedded in a traditional urban pattern of meandering narrow pedestrian lanes framed by single- and double-storeyed residences. Three rooms at the western side, a colonnade (liwan) towards the courtyard and the treatment room survive from Badr Ghulum House’s original plan.
Badr Ghulum and Turabi Houses, 2016, Camille Zakharia
Badr Ghulum House, 2016, Camille Zakharia
Badr Ghulum House: 972, Road 1615, Block 216 | Turabi House: 1262, Lane 1622, Block 216
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