of Arabia

T. E. Lawrence

Research Centers


Location in Wales
Courtesy of Carol Darbyshire

Tremadog, North Wales -- birthpalce of Thomas Edward Lawrence.

Locations in England
Courtesy of Gigi Horsefield, TEL Society

Here are some TEL sites to visit in England, although this is not an exhaustive study. If anyone had bought the National Portrait Gallery T.E. LAWRENCE CATALOGUE edited by Jeremy Wilson (which was published for the 1988 centenary of TEL's birth to go with the NPG exhibit) you can see the various collection items that are about and where they are located.

In Dorset there is the Bovington Tank Museum located in the Bovington Camp which I believe is in Wool. There is a special exhibit on TEL. Nearby is Clouds Hill and it is on the road connecting Bovington Camp and Clouds Hill where the fatal accident occurred. Clouds Hill is open from April to October, I think, and is a must-see. Check ahead of time for hours. There is also the Moreton Cemetary where TEL was buried and St. Nicholas Church nearby where the funeral was performed. There are some beautiful, etched windows in this church which are quite unusual. In Wareham, there is the church in which is located Eric Kennington's effigy of TEL. Unfortunately, the Church has been closed for repairs and it is not known when it will reopen.

In London, the Union Club still exists where TEL used to stay when in the RAF and visiting London (because it was a good deal to soldiers). There is the National Portrait Gallery memorial room to the artists of WWI in which is a replica of the Kennington effigy of TEL and the Augustus John pencil drawing of TEL in arab clothes. The Imperial War Museum has some reference to the Mideast War Theatre and there is a fine collection of paintings by the war artists. A couple of nice one by Kennington. None of the TEL portraits, but many of the artist that TEL would have known. It also gives a strong feel as to what the war was like abroad and at home. There is the Kennington bust of TEL by Kennington in the Crypt of St. Paul Cathedral, too. You can also get a hands-on try at Brass Rubbing in the Brass Rubbing Institute of St. Martins in the Field which is across the street (in a diagonal fashion) from the National Art and Portrait Gallery. The BR is in the basement area where there is a cafeteria too. You may be able to see one of the subscriber edition of SPoW at the British Library, but this may be tricky since it would have to be ordered and I do not know if this facility is available to the general public. Try visiting Maggs Bros. Book Collectors. They have a large collection of TEL material on sale and there may be a subscriber edition available, but don't faint when they tell you the price!

In Oxford, there is the TEL Society library within the Central Library of Oxfordshire, Westgate, Oxford. It is located on what the British call the second floor (and we would call third floor) in the Centre for Oxfordshire Studies. You would need to ask someone at the Centre's reception desk to give you access. It is open to the public, though sometimes the volunteers there are not aware of this. You can have them check the regulations within the sign-up book in the TEL Society Library cabinet. None of the material can be taken out on loan, but it is open to the public. There is a collection of books, journals, newsletters, photos, ect. There are some audiotapes on radio documentaries of TEL, and an audiovideo copy of Malcolm Brown's and Julia Cave's TEL documentary which is quite good (Arnold Lawrence is interviewed in it). These you can view or listen to at the library, but you must reserve the equipment ahead of time. The number to call is: (01865) 815749.

Other sites are the Oxford City High School for Boys (which is now the Sociology Department of Oxford) located on George Street about opposite the entrance of the Gloucester Green where there is an MGM Cinema.

TEL's parents were buried at the Wolvercote Cemetary which can be hard to get to unless you hire a cab.

The Lawrence's house still stands on 2 Polstead Road which is reached heading north out of Oxford Centre on Woodstock road. About a 15 to 20 minute walk. Polstead Road is on the left. A couple houses down the right is 2 Polstead with a blue plaque. At present it is not open for viewing unless you can conjole the owner who is not too keen on it. The bungalow still exists in the backyard and some who had the chance to look inside the house many moons ago saw markings on a kitchen cabinet door indicating the heights of the Lawrence boys as they were growing.

The Ashmolean has a collection of arab clothes, some wooden doors, a couple portraits of TEL, but these can only be seen by appointment only and they prefer doing the work for a group. There is also a brass-rubbing done by TEL and a collection of his the pottery he found around Oxford in the Medieval Room on the ground floor of the Museum (which is just off the Greek Sculture Gallery). The pottery are sort of scattered about in the room, but the brass-rubbing is life-size. There are some Hittie seals that were collected by TEL upstairs in some back room dedicated to the ancient Mid-East. The Ashmolean Museum is on Beaumont Street (though now you enter by St. Giles due to construction). Its phone number is (01865) 278049.

All Souls College has a collection of items TEL brought back from the Hejaz, a few sculptures of him, and a believe a copy of a subscriber edition of SPoW. This again is by appointment only and they prefer a group since all these items are in storage and need to be brought out and arranged. The person to contact may be:

Dr. Bailey
All Souls College
Oxford OX1 4AL
(01865) 279 379

The Bodleian Library has a collection on books and manuscripts, but they are even more difficult to set up an appointment. Unfortunately, I do not have their number on hand though it is located on Broad Street in Oxford.

You can visit Jesus College at certain hours when the college is open to tourists.

I am sure there is far more that people can add.

TEL & RAF Enlistment
Courtesy of Martin Kender, UK

TEL joined the RAF at the recruiting office at 4 Henrietta Street, Covent Garden. The office was on the upper floors now occupied by an accountancy firm. The recruiting officer was of course W E Johns - who wrote the Biggles stories.


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