The house where Colonel Thomas Lawrence – better known as T. E. Lawrence, and Lawrence of Arabia – spent most of his first three decades has come up for sale.
T.E. Lawrence was a boy of just eight years old when he moved from South Wales to Oxford in 1896, and the house at number two Polstead Lane would be his home for the most important years of his life.
He lived there as a schoolboy, a student and a soldier. It was to this house that he returned home from the First World War as a hero, having played a part in the Arab Revolt which won him the fame that endures to this day.
The house itself, for sale at £2.95 million via Savills, is huge: a nine-bedroom, 4,000sq ft home just north of the city centre, round the corner from St Hugh’s College.
It was a newly-built home when Lawrence and his family moved in and was then (as it is now) a spacious family home.
It proved not quite spacious enough when Lawrence was a spirited teenager, however: his family built him a small bungalow at the end of the garden, which remains a self-contained unit that the agents suggest could be ideal guest accommodation, or perhaps a home office.
Lawrence would eventually leave the house in 1921, living the rest of his life partly as an enlisted man in the RAF, and partly in London where he wrote The Seven Pillars of Wisdom.
The house is in one of Oxford’s conservation areas but is not listed – something which has stoked fears among some locals that the place could be ‘gutted’ by a new owner.
But it’s hard to believe that whoever takes this place on would want to detract anything from the charm of a home that claims this niche in history.
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