The T. E. Lawrence Society (Registered Charity No. 297940) was born at the Red Lion Hotel, in Wareham, Dorset, on 29 June 1985,
in the presence of around 30 founder members. Its foundation
coincided with the 50th anniversary of Lawrence’s death.
It aims to offer a forum where friends can come together to share their enthusiasm for a man who has greatly enriched their lives in many ways, reflecting the diversity of Lawrence’s own interests.
There are currently around 600 members, of whom two-thirds live in the UK. Overseas members come from countries throughout the world, including a large contingent from the USA.
The Society is a non-profit organisation registered under British
law as an educational charity. By the terms of its Constitution, the Society exists:
‘to advance the education of the public in the life and
works of T. E. Lawrence and to promote research (and to
publish the useful results thereof) into his life and works’.
The Society issues two 80-page Journals and three Newsletters each year. The Newsletters report on current events of interest to members, including the activities of the Society. The Journal, whose accumulated issues now form an invaluable biographical source, contains research articles and reprints of significant material about Lawrence. Content is chosen to reflect many different aspects of Lawrence’s life. Subscription income is spent as far as possible on publications.
The most important gathering organised by the Society in the UK is the Symposium, held every two years. Past speakers have included such eminent names as Jeremy Wilson, Malcolm Brown, Professor John E. Mack, Professor John Adair and Dr Philip O’Brien.
The most recent Symposium was held at St John’s College, Oxford, in September 2016. Coinciding with the centenary of the outbreak of the Arab Revolt, a special programme of events was organised to mark the occasion.
Lawrence’s diverse interests have led to the Society organising some entertaining and often exciting outings. Members recently enjoyed
a rare opportunity to ride on and take the wheel of HSL 102, the only survivor of the 100 Class RAF high-speed rescue boats that Lawrence helped to develop. During a weekend visit to Dorset,
an intrepid group walked along the coastline to swim near Arish
Mell – Lawrence’s favourite swimming spot when he was stationed at Bovington – though the beach itself was out of bounds due to
Groups of members are regularly granted the privilege of behind-the-scenes access to rare collections such as those held by the Bodleian Library, Ashmolean and British Museums, RAF Hendon
and the Liddell Hart Centre for Military Archives at King’s College London. In the UK, the London Group is very active in organising
visits and social events.
The Society maintains a research collection which is kept at Wareham Library in Dorset. It can be consulted by arrangement with the library by any member of the public.
The Society is the publisher of a unique and scholarly work, T. E. Lawrence: A Brief Chronology, compiled by a former chairman, the late Ronald Knight, which lists Lawrence’s activities throughout his life on an almost daily basis. Members also produced Lawrence and the Arab Revolt, an exciting digital recreation of a 1920s lantern slide show, using photographic images from our own collection held at the Tank Museum in Bovington.
The Society’s Committee is elected by members at the Annual
General Meeting, normally held in the autumn. In Symposium years, the AGM is held at the end of the Symposium sessions. In alternate years, the Society tries to offer a programme of Lawrence-related events around the chosen venue.
Many of the photographs on this website have been taken by members
of the T. E. Lawrence Society and we have tried to give credit wherever
possible. Anyone wishing to claim credit for a photo where it has been omitted should contact us and we will happily make reparations!
Photo of the lintel at Clouds Hill © Alison Jolley