THE life and career of famed Middle East explorer Gertrude Bell is to be put on display in the town where she grew up when an exhibition begins at Kirkleatham Museum and Grounds.
The Extraordinary Gertrude Bell tells the story of the North East adventurer who played a key part in the creation of Iraq and Jordan after the conclusion of World War One.
The exhibition has been created thanks to a collaboration between the Gertrude Bell Archive, based at Newcastle University, and the Great North Museum: Hancock.
Born in Washington Hall, Gertrude lived in Red Barns on Kirkleatham Street in Redcar during her early years before becoming the first woman to get a First Class degree at Oxford after studying Modern History.
As well as a historian, she was an archaeologist and mountaineer, who climbed Mont Blanc at the turn of the 1900s, and her fascination with the Middle East saw her spend 10 years exploring the region.
The knowledge she gained was put to use alongside Lawrence of Arabia – T.E Lawrence – at British Intelligence during World War One where she was instrumental in drumming up support from native tribes to the British campaign against the Ottoman Empire. After the war, she would assist the Government in drawing the borders for modern day Iraq and Jordan.
All this, and more, will be showcased at Kirkleatham Museum from Saturday, May 28, to January 2017 with diaries, letters, pictures and other items from her life all on display to the public.
Cllr Carl Quartermain, Cabinet Member for Jobs, Skills and Leisure said: “I am very pleased to see that Kirkleatham Museum will be playing host to an exhibition on one of the most extraordinary women of the last 150 years who has made a lasting impact on the world.
“Many of the exhibits have never been on display before, so it is an exhibition not to be missed.”