Found among the books in the working library of the actor Peter O’Toole (1932 – 2013) his copy of Letters of T.E. Lawrence (Readers Union, 1941.) O’Toole had surprisingly few books on or by Lawrence considering that this was probably his greatest role and the film that made him an international star. In the Reader’s Union edition was loosely inserted a one page wartime broadsheet keeping members of the book club informed about new publications. It was from an address at Wray Common, Reigate. This broadsheet / flier was dated February 1941and has a good piece (“T.E.”) on Lawrence by his friend and bookseller K.W. Marshall.
I have more reason to feel grateful to T.E. Lawrence than most booksellers. When I was unemployed years ago, he loaned me Clouds Hill his Dorset cottage, where I stayed for just over three months. Later, my wife and I spent a honeymoon holiday there. On my first visit I was in “possession” of the cottage, and Lawrence would ask permission to stay the night on the infrequent occasions that he managed to pay a visit. He was very proud of the cottage and spent some considerable effort and time in gradually planning a comfortable retreat for his retirement. Unfortunately, when he died he had not enjoyed Clouds Hill for as long a period as I had; and during his short term of possession he was harassed by news reporters. Continue reading