A taste of Arabia at Clouds Hill

VISITORS to Lawrence of Arabia’s tiny refuge of Clouds Hill in Dorset will be able to experience traditional Arabian hospitality this summer, enjoying Arabic coffee and dates in an authentic Bedouin tent.

The tent was made by the Howeitat tribe in Wadi Rum, Jordan. The Howeitat fought with Lawrence in the Arab revolt in the First World War. It was shipped to Dorset by Clouds Hill volunteer Theresa Jenkins-Teague through her contacts at the British Embassy in Jordan, with the assistance of 17 Port and Maritime Regiment, Royal Logistics Corps.

Theresa, who lives part of each year in Saudi Arabia, will be offering Arabic style hospitality in the tent each Thursday afternoon to visitors throughout the summer. She says: “Tents like this one are used for socialising and hospitality, and for protection from the heat of the day. Lawrence spent a lot of time in tents like this and the simple lifestyle of the Howeitat appealed to his own simple tastes.”

She hopes her hospitality will give visitors a deeper insight into TE Lawrence and is planning further special events to mark this year’s 130th anniversary of his birth on 16th August. Clouds Hill became Lawrence’s sanctuary, as he attempted to escape the fame which his war time exploits had bestowed upon him. He joined the Tank Regiment at nearby Bovington Camp under the name TE Shaw, and died just metres from Clouds Hill after suffering a fatal accident on his beloved Brough Superior motorbike in 1935.

Clouds Hill hosts many of Lawrence’s possessions and is the only one of his homes not in private ownership. Owned and managed by the National Trust, it is open to the public daily until the end of October.

Pictured: Clouds Hill Bedouin Tent © National Trust/Tony Gill