Lawrence of Arabia's birthplace, Tremadog

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Lawrence of Arabia’s birthplace, Church Street, Tremadog

Thomas Edward Lawrence was born in this detached house in Tremadog in 1888. During the First World War he was posted to Egypt as an intelligence officer for the British army. He inspired Arabs to believe they could rout Turkey’s Ottoman Empire, an ally of Germany. He was wounded several times as he led the Arab revolt, which weakened Ottoman control and helped the British to enter Syria and Palestine.

Afterwards he refused to accept a knighthood and Victoria Cross. He described his experiences in his book The Seven Pillars of Wisdom. This was used as the basis of the 1962 film Lawrence of Arabia, which starred Peter O’Toole and was partly filmed at Merthyr Mawr dunes, near Bridgend. He died on 19 May 1935 after a motorcycle accident near his home in Dorset. 

TE Lawrence’s father, Sir Thomas Chapman, came from a landed Irish family but left Ireland after his wife discovered his affair with Sarah Junner, their daughter’s governess. The pair moved to Tremadog, and later to Oxford, and lived together under the assumed surname Lawrence. They appeared to be an ordinary married couple but Thomas, their third son, discovered when he was 10 that he was an illegitimate child (as children born to unmarried parents were then classed).

This house was called Gorphwysfa (“Resting place”) when TE Lawrence lived here. It is now a hostel catering mainly for walkers and climbers.

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Postcode: LL49 9PS

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