Clouds Hill, Lawrence of Arabia’s tiny cottage hideaway near Bovington, Dorset, is gearing up for the anniversary of the 1916-18 Arab Revolt with a recruitment day for new volunteers on 23 June.
With a series of events and activities being planned to mark Lawrence’s involvement in the Revolt, a resurgence of interest in Lawrence, and a rise in visitor numbers already taking place, the National Trust is looking for more volunteers to help run the cottage.
The National Trust relies on volunteers to help open the cottage to the public, from conservation assistants to room guides and reception assistants. Alison Gale, who works at Clouds Hill says: “Our volunteers do a fantastic job in greeting visitors and sharing the story of Lawrence, and the visitor book is full of comments about the atmosphere of the cottage and the enthusiasm of the volunteers.
“They come from all walks of life, with different backgrounds, interests and ages, but they share in common a passion for the place – some from before they started volunteering, others just from being here.”
One of the most recent recruits is Anne Brown, who knew virtually nothing about T E Lawrence when she moved from Buckinghamshire to Dorset last year. She had always enjoyed looking around National Trust houses and gardens and was inspired to volunteer whilst visiting Clouds Hill as a way of getting more involved in the local community. Anne volunteers in the Visitor Reception and enjoys the people-facing role: “I love the variety, every visitor is different,” she says.”Recently we ran our first Lawrence Week, a series of talks, events and guided walks. He was a man of so many parts, so many interests, and the passion he had for life seems to have touched people down the generations.”
For anyone interested in volunteering, a drop-in afternoon will be held at Clouds Hill on Tuesday 23 June from midday- 4pm when Alison Gale will be on hand to explain more and answer questions.