The man who was Lawrence of Arabia

T E Lawrence's chair in the Book Room at Clouds Hill, Dorset

Exhausted, bitterly disappointed by failure, and with his duties to Winston Churchill discharged, Lawrence of Arabia (T E Lawrence) returned to Clouds Hill in Dorset from Syria after World War One.

Lawrence had lobbied to promote Arab independence, but the imperialists of the time were having none of it. So, it was rest and spiritual convalescence that he needed after the horror and responsibilities of war.

A rural retreat

This led him to Clouds Hill in Dorset, a tiny brick and tile cottage built for a long forgotten woodman some 115 years earlier.

For this Spartan setting, he had a simple armchair made by a boat builder, finished with the finest dove grey leather, and the softest sheepskin cushions. He put it in the book room, where he could read, write and sleep in front of the log fire.

Not only was the chair made to fit him perfectly, but it was also supplied with a bookrest which enabled Lawrence to research and write his book, Seven Pillars of Wisdom.

Immortalised on film

The most famous Englishman of his generation, celebrated for his daring military exploits and role in the Arab revolt, Lawrence is remembered for this literary masterpiece which was brought to the cinema in the epic film of the book, starring Peter O’Toole.

Killed on his motorbike only yards from home, Lawrence’s modest cottage at Clouds Hill is kept as a memorial, just as it was left at his death.