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T E Lawrence Society AGM 2023
Saturday 30th Sep 2023
Annual General Meeting of the T. E. Lawrence Society
Saturday, 30 September 2023, Bovington Tank Museum
Information For Attendees
Directions to Bovington Tank Museum can be found on SatNav / Google Maps, etc, using the postcode BH20 6JG. There is a one-way route along Linsay Road from Bovington Lane to the car park and then on to the exit onto King George V Road. The main entrance to the Museum is right next to the car park.
The Museum will be open to the public and delegates from 10:00am onwards.
On arrival, delegates need to check in at the front desk where tickets are on sale. The staff there will have a list of AGM attendees who will be let in with no charge.
There will be (should be!) signposts with the Society logo directing to the meeting room.
We will be in The Briefing Room, in the Conference Suite shown towards the top right of the floor plan.
Delegates will be able to come to the meeting room, and leave coats and bags (at their own risk) while they look around the Museum. We will ensure there is always someone in the meeting room all day.
There will be tea/coffee available for delegates in the meeting room during the morning. The Museum also has a restaurant and a café that delegates can use if they would like a wider range of refreshments.
There are toilets immediately next to The Briefing Room, and others through the Museum.
We will convene in The Briefing Room from 12:00 for buffet lunch 12:30 to 1:30pm.
The AGM will commence in The Briefing Room at 2:00.
Please note we all need to have departed (and cleared up) by 5:00, when the Museum closes.
For those joining us in the evening at The Frampton Arms, Moreton, the pub is open all day so we can start gathering there straight after the meeting, if members wish. There will be spare seats available in cars if anyone would like a lift to the Frampton Arms from the Tank Museum. The pub is across the road from Moreton Station, on the Weymouth to Waterloo line, for onward journeys.
The evening meal has been booked for 6:00pm. Further bookings are welcome (contact [email protected]), however they need to be soon in order to get the pre-ordered meals in place! (The pub is, of course, open for casual drinks / meals.)
We hope delegates will take advantage of the opportunity to visit Clouds Hill, Moreton, Wareham, and other local sites connected with Lawrence, over the weekend.
All members are welcome and invited to attend the Society’s AGM, which this year will be held in The Briefing Room at Bovington Tank Museum, Dorset.
This is a special centenary year, marking Lawrence’s arrival in Bovington to join the Tank Corps as Private T. E. Shaw (March 1923), first visiting Max Gate and meeting Thomas and Florence Hardy (also March), and starting to rent his cottage at Clouds Hill (September 1923). The Tank Museum is also celebrating 2023 its centenary year with special events and exhibitions, as it was in 1923 that the setting up of a museum to house the rusting tanks littering the area around the Army camp was first proposed.
Members are also cordially invited to extend their visit to Dorset, to explore some of the other local places with a ‘Lawrence’ connection – please see details below.
Programme for Saturday 30 September
10:00 onwards The Tank Museum opens at 10:00am.
Attendees are free to look around the Museum at their leisure. Tea and coffee will be available in The Briefing Room from 10:00am.
The opportunity can also be taken to visit Clouds Hill, or other local places.
12:00 to 12:30 Convene in The Briefing Room.
12:30 to 1:30 Buffet lunch in The Briefing Room.
2:00 to 3:00 Annual General Meeting of the T. E. Lawrence Society, in The Briefing Room.
The AGM will include Minutes of the 2022 AGM, Reports for the year 2022-23, and Election of Officers and Committee Members. Full details, invitations to stand for election, and election procedures will be provided to members at a later date.
3:00 to 3:30 Tea and coffee break.
3:30 to 4:30 Talk by Martin Gething, volunteer with the National Trust at Clouds Hill:
‘Clouds Hill then, before and after’ – exploring the transformation of the cottage while Lawrence was there, its earlier history as a farm labourers’ home, and some of the stories from the National Trust’s custodianship.
5:00pm Museum closes
Evening An informal meal at the Frampton Arms, Moreton, will be organised for those who wish to join us.
The Tank Museum is in south Dorset at Bovington, near Wareham, and is signposted by Brown tourist signs when approaching from Dorchester, Blandford, Weymouth and Poole. The museum is about a 30-minute drive from these locations, about 45 minutes from Bournemouth and Salisbury, and about an hour from Southampton and Yeovil. The postcode for satnavs is BH20 6JG. There is plenty of free parking on site.
The nearest railway station is at Wool, 1.5 miles distant, which is on the South Western Railway main line from London Waterloo to Weymouth. Trains are approximately hourly in each direction. There are good footpaths to the Museum, and it is walkable in about thirty minutes, however you may prefer to use the local taxis which run from Wool station. There is, unfortunately, no public transport from the station to the museum.
The cost for attending the AGM is £35.00, which includes entry to the Tank Museum, teas and coffees, and buffet lunch.
Extending the weekend
There are many nearby Dorset places to explore with a ‘Lawrence’ connection, including Clouds Hill, Moreton, Wareham, Corfe Castle, Swanage, Lulworth and Dorchester.
A special screening of the 1990 British television film A Dangerous Man, starring Ralph Fiennes as Lawrence and Alexander Siddig as Faisal, has been arranged at the Rex Cinema, Wareham:
Sunday 1 October
2:00pm A Dangerous Man: Lawrence After Arabia, Rex Cinema, 14 West Street, Wareham, Dorset, BH20 4JX
Payment on the door, or pre-booking through the cinema’s website: https://www.therex.co.uk/. (Please note, the screening will not be listed on the website until a few weeks ahead of the date.)
Other places to visit
Clouds Hill was rented by Lawrence from 1923, and then purchased in 1929. It is the only home he ever owned. Filled with his own furniture and artefacts, the cottage is a National Trust property located 1.5 miles north of the Tank Museum, and will be open on Saturday and Sunday. Entry is via pre-booked tours starting at thirty minute intervals (10am, 10:30, 11:00, etc, last entry 3:00pm). The National Trust have very kindly offered AGM delegates free entry, and they will pre-book your preferred day/time slot if you specify with your AGM booking. Please note, bookings through the NT Clouds Hill website (https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/visit/dorset/clouds-hill) are available up to four weeks ahead.
Moreton is the location of St Nicholas’s Church, where Lawrence’s funeral took place, and where Laurence Whistler’s fabulous etched glass windows can be seen. Across the road from the church is the cemetery, with Lawrence’s grave. Next to the cemetery are the beautiful Walled Gardens (free entry), with its Dovecote Café, where teas, cakes and light lunches can be purchased. The Café has on display the bier (hand cart) used during Lawrence’s funeral. Each of these places is open every day. Moreton is about three miles by road from the Tank Museum, or it can be reached by a two-mile walk along the Lawrence Trail.
The Lawrence Trail is a signposted walk, along generally flat sandy paths with some gentle slopes, connecting the Tank Museum, Moreton and Clouds Hill. The full circular route is about 6.5 miles. It can also be undertaken in shorter sections: Tank Museum to Moreton, two miles each way; Moreton to Clouds Hill, two miles each way.
Wareham, about five miles from the Tank Museum, has a number of places of interest. St Martin’s Church, in North Street, is the home of Eric Kennington’s Effigy of Lawrence, recumbent in Arab clothing. The church is generally open every day. (If it is closed, a key can be borrowed during normal business hours from A. F. Joy, Men’s Outfitters, across the road.) Wareham Library, in South Street, holds the Society’s Collection of Lawrence books and papers. The Library will be open on Friday (9:30am to 5:00pm) and Saturday (9:00am to 12:30pm). Wareham Town Museum, in East Street, houses a small display on Lawrence. The Museum has free entry, and will be open on Friday and Saturday (10:00am to 4:00pm).
Max Gate, Thomas and Florence Hardy’s home that was visited many times by Lawrence, and Hardy’s Cottage, where Thomas Hardy grew up, are both National Trust properties near Dorchester. Max Gate will be open on Saturday and Sunday, 10:30am to 4:30pm (https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/visit/dorset/max-gate), and Hardy’s Cottage on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, 10:00am to 4:00pm (https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/visit/dorset/hardys-cottage). Dorchester is a ten-mile drive from the Tank Museum.
Also nearby are Corfe Castle, where Lawrence says he liked to get breakfast on Sunday mornings, Swanage, where Sarah and Bob Lawrence had a number of holidays in the 1950s and 1960s, and Lulworth, the beautiful cove with many tourist attractions.
For a gentle walk of about a mile each way one can reach Arish Mell, a small bay where Lawrence liked to swim in the sea, from the village of East Lulworth through the Lulworth Army Range Walks, which are open to the public at weekends. (A more strenuous route can also be taken from Lulworth Cove. It is about three miles each way, but includes some very steep hills!)
Further details, with booking and payment arrangements can be found on the Society’s website. Details can also be requested by post from The T. E. Lawrence Society, P.O. Box 728, Oxford, OX29ZJ.
Please book your places at the AGM by 31 August 2023, with full payment of the delegate rate of £35.00 per person.
If you wish to take up the National Trust’s offer of free entry to Clouds Hill, or to join us for an informal meal at The Frampton Arms on the Saturday evening, please email Martin Gething at [email protected].