What secret is this green door keeping?16 September 2021 Look closely and this painted Victorian pine door from a house in Oxford includes the heights of children written in pencil. Among the names is 'Ned'.
As 1980s pop star Shakin’ Stevens once sang*: "Green Door, what's that secret you're keeping?"
Ned was, in fact, archaeologist, military strategist and author TE Lawrence (1888-1935).
The door is believed to have been in the family home at 2 Polstead Road, North Oxford c.1900-06. The Lawrence family moved to Oxford in 1896 (and lived in the house until 1921). Thomas Edward Lawrence, the second eldest of five boys, attended the local high school before studying history at Jesus College Oxford between 1907-1910.
He is, of course, best known for his legendary war activities in the Middle East during the First World War and for his account of those activities in The Seven Pillars of Wisdom which later led to his 'Lawrence of Arabia' moniker.
He worked as an archaeologist for the British Museum in Syria between 1910-14 before joining the British Army, becoming an intelligence officer and fighting alongside Arab guerrilla forces in the hope of securing Arab independence. He died in a motorbike accident in Dorset in 1935.
It is one of the lots in the Oxford Library Sale which also features books, furniture and works of art.
*in a cover version of what was originally a hit in 1956 for Jim Lowe but you knew that already, didn't you?