Clouds Hill

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For the estate in Warwick, Rhode Island, see Clouds Hill (Warwick, Rhode Island).
The front of Clouds Hill

Clouds Hill is an isolated cottage near Wareham in the county of Dorset in South West England. It is the former home of T. E. Lawrence ("Lawrence of Arabia") and is now run as a museum by the National Trust. The site is in the parish of Turners Puddle in Purbeck District.

History[edit]

The rear of the cottage
Engraving over doorway

The small building has colourwashed brick walls and a tiled roof. It was probably built as forester's cottage in the early 19th century. The lintel over the door now bears a Greek inscription οὐ φροντὶς ("Why Worry"). It is a Grade II listed building as "Lawrence of Arabia's Cottage, Clouds Hill".[1]

Lawrence first rented the cottage as an occasional refuge in 1923 while stationed at Bovington Camp with the Tank Corps, and he purchased it in 1925. He wrote "Nothing in Clouds Hill is to be a care upon the world. While I have it there shall be nothing exquisite or unique in it. Nothing to anchor me."

In 1935, he left the Royal Air Force and lived at Clouds Hill. At the age of 46, a few weeks after leaving the service, Lawrence suffered severe head injuries in a motorcycle accident close to the cottage, and died in the nearby Bovington Camp hospital on 19 May 1935. The following year, his heir, his brother A. W. Lawrence gave Clouds Hill to the National Trust. It is now a museum, dedicated to Lawrence. It is open to visitors from the end of March to the beginning of October, Thursday – Sunday.

The cottage remains largely as Lawrence left it at his death. It features an exhibition detailing Lawrence's life, and most of his original furniture and possessions. The cottage reflects his complex personality and links to the Middle East.

The circular Lawrence of Arabia Trail starts and finishes at Bovington's The Tank Museum, taking in Clouds Hill and the churchyard of St Nicholas' Church in Moreton, Lawrence's final resting place.[2]

Sleeping bags[edit]

The garage of Clouds Hill containing an exhibit on the life of Lawrence

Lawrence reserved a sleeping bag for guests and visitors who stayed overnight. In 1965 it was stolen. The bag's disappearance coincided with the release of Lawrence of Arabia, the film which popularised his story and it was thought the theft could have been inspired by the publicity and excitement generated by the film.

In 2001, the sleeping bag was returned. The Independent reported:

"The sleeping bag that served as a guest bed to some of the 20th century's most distinguished authors at TE Lawrence's weekend retreat has been returned 36 years after it was stolen. National Trust custodians of Clouds Hill, the author's cottage in Dorset, were amazed when a weather-beaten package from Belgium arrived containing the sleeping bag, along with a sheepish note that read: 'This is yours'. The bag, embroidered with the word 'tuum' ['yours'], was provided for guests at the cottage, while Lawrence slept on the floor in the other sleeping bag, marked 'meum' ['mine']. According to Jeremy Wilson, Lawrence's biographer, tuum's occupants included George Bernard Shaw, E. M. Forster and Robert Graves" [3]

Address[edit]

Clouds Hill
Wareham, Dorset BH20 7NQ
Telephone: 01929 405616

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 50°43′03″N 2°15′04″W / 50.7176°N 2.2510°W / 50.7176; -2.2510