T.E. Lawrence’s Fire tank/Swimming pool at Clouds Hill, christened ‘Shaw’s Puddle’.
T.E. originally planned to built a fire tank to protect his cottage from heath fires. There was only a spring running near the property so T.E. installed a Vulcan hydraulic ram which used no electricity but only the water to drive it. It pumped water 35 feet uphill to his cottage cistern and his neighbour”s cottage, and later to the fire tank. The ram and water heater at Clouds Hill were believed to be the only ones of their kind in the world.
"I hear that heath fires are raging at Clouds Hill, and am sad and afraid for the little place. I’ve grown to love it, I fear. What fools we become!"- Letter to E.M. Forster June 26, 1934.
The water tank was 40 by 7 by 5 feet and held 7,000 gallons. T.E. and his friends frequently went swimming in the pool, even though it was bitterly cold. In the first photograph you can see the carved teak doors from Jeddah which T.E. acquired in 1921. The doors are now in the Ashmolean Museum. They enclosed a study area that T.E. had planned to use as a workroom or guest cottage. T.E. also planned to built a room over the pool for a hand-press which would work well in the humid environment.
In January of 1935 disaster struck the tank. The weight of the water had pushed the north wall, causing it to crack.
The big tank has cracked at it’s north end, and will have to be undercut and butressed. I shall get this in hand as soon as the weather permits, so as to have my water ready against the summer fire menace. So perhaps we can fill up by April 22. Or has your long convalescence put you out of love for the agonies of chill water?”” - Letter to his friend Jock Chambers
After T.E.’s death the pool was covered with branches to prevent people from falling in. It eventually disappeared under a thicket of rhododendron for almost half a century until it was excavated in 1991. The entire framework had collapsed and the pool was filled with glass and blue-painted wood. The ruins of the pool are preserved and can be seen in the grounds of the caretaker’s cottage at Clouds Hill.
Information and images taken from The Journal of the T.E. Lawrence Society - Vol.XV No.2
"T.E. Lawrence" or "Desert Stars”
Lawrence was a babe, just sayin.
my latest project in digital art was a master work portrait/landscape/whatever. I chose Gustav Klimt for the artist I was to mimick (cause he’s frickin awesome!). As the title refers, T.E. Lawrence (a.k.a. Lawrence of Arabia) as my subject.
The original drawing is the 3rd pic which came off as really boring to me as far as composition goes. I tried redrawing it but I just could NOT drawing anything good yesterday. But i decided to scan the original drawing and duplicating and all that junk on photoshop! :’D
I was up till 5 AM this morning (hour 1/2 of sleep lol) working on it, but it was worth it for sure! I can’t wait to see how the print came out tomorrow morning (we had to email our teacher the file so he could get big prints of our project at costco)!
that is impressive and kind of awesome and I need to process it
Was TE considered a good student? I get conflicting messages - he was an intellectual, yes, but he was also noted as untidy, only interested in what he was interested in, and lacking respect towards authority, which may have painted him as more delinquent than bright.
Asked by Anonymous
I guess this depends on your definition of “good student,” but I would say yes. He was certainly a gifted and precocious child, but he didn’t like forced study and he was not good at math. At Jesus College he was intrinsically motivated by his own interests in the Crusades, medieval warfare and fortifications, the topic of his honors thesis which earned him a First in history. This is a strong testament to his performance as a student.
Post-college, during his years as an archaeologist at Carchemish, David Hogarth described T.E.’s work ethic as “curiously erratic” and was dependent on T.E.’s interest level. "He could take very full and careful notes, not always in a form easy for others to follow, but giving all the gist of the matter, and at other times he would takes no notes at all." I think this gives an accurate portrayal of what T.E. was like as a student. However, I think being motivated by interest is a trait of all students (and people in general) and doesn’t necessarily qualify someone as being a bad student.
Did TE Lawrence have a best friend?
Asked by Anonymous
T.E. had countless friends and corresponded prolifically with many people. Despite the wide range of friendships he maintained, he was primarily attracted to artists, writers, and poets (Robert Graves, Siegfried Sassoon, Ezra Pound, E.M. Forster, and Eric Kennington to name just a few), but he had trouble maintaining close friendships. He always kept his distance and established many emotional barriers to keep friends from penetrating too deeply into his life. Despite this tendency, he did end up establishing a handful of close friends throughout his life. In his early childhood he had C.F.C. Beeson. In college and beyond there was Vyvyan Richards. During his years as an archaeologist he was close to David Hogarth. In his post-war years he befriended George Bernard and Charlotte Shaw. Some of his most personal letters were written to Charlotte. Finally, during his RAF Mount Batten years, he maintained a close relationship with his commanding officer Sydney Smith and his wife Clare. Of course, this list doesn’t cover all of the various relationships he maintained, but you can gain a better understanding of Lawrence’s friendships from books of his letters.
1920 newspaper promoting Lowell Thomas’s famous travelogue (“With Allenby in Palestine and Lawrence Arabia”) which propelled T.E. Lawrence to relative stardom. The travelogue is available online via the Imperial War Museum here.
T.E. Lawrence’s funeral bier is now used as a dessert table at the Moreton Tea Rooms. I don’t think T.E. could have asked for anything more!
Photos for the upcoming paperback edition of Seven Pillars of Wisdom - The Oxford Text
-Minor Writings (A substantial collection of Lawrence’s published articles and introductions, brought together conveniently in a single volume)
-Translations from Arabic, French and Greek (Including The Odyssey and The Forest Giant)
-'The Mint' and later writings about service life
A 1928 magazine article about T.E. Lawrence.
Letter from T.E. Lawrence to friend and fellow author H.M. Tomlinson, author of All Our Yesterdays.
… . An introduction by me would only do harm. Twice I have ‘introduced’ books and lived to regret it. It holds the smoky glass of oneself between the writer & his readers. Really it is ignoble and should be resisted. All the same it is hard to resist … To harden my heart against the temptation to repeat this sin, I set a bough above my head a determination (blessed fifty-five times and thrice regretted) not to write & sign—ever—anything again. You are a writer, born and inevitable. I am not. Writers are not like the rest of people: they feel, & put on paper, and have a certainty of goodness about them. Alas: they are to be envied. I just drool on & on, wanting to do something intangible, and good only at tangible things, like floor-polishing, or painting, or filing bits of metal.
I re-read ‘All Our Yesterdays’ about a month ago, with the knowledge of your letter behind me, and saw at once that what made me miss parts of it lay in our situations. You are indignant because the generation (of which I was a detail) died in the war: and we are not indignant, just because we died. The sacrifice hurts the by-standers more than the victims … It is by itself as a war-book, which is to be distinguished: in that it doesn’t really love the details and dress-furniture of fighting. All the others mix regret into their pictures. You hate it all. They call the others anti-war books: and the young airmen in camp gloat over them and say ‘My god, to think that we missed all that.’ Your book is so hot with anger all through that it prevents people liking it. I think that is honest & good of you: yet it will have reduced its sale. / I hope you will make us, some day, a quite clean happy picture book: something quite English and vulgar, with a laughing zest of life in it: about people who do not over-think and over-feel….
The book room and bathroom (storage/bathing) at Clouds Hill, 1935.