Campaign to save explorer Gertrude Bell's Redcar home

Gertrude Bell
Image caption Gertrude Bell, who died in 1926, spoke eight languages including Persian, Arabic and Turkish

A campaign has been launched to save the childhood home of the explorer, writer and archaeologist Gertrude Bell.

Bell travelled around the Middle East in the early 1890s and is credited with drawing up the borders of modern Iraq.

Her Grade II* listed childhood home, Red Barns, in Redcar, has since been a pub and hotel and is now empty.

Redcar Labour MP Anna Turley is seeking help to save the building and use it as a museum, learning centre and tourist attraction.

"Red Barns has huge significance to the local area and it is tragic that such a beautiful building with so much history has deteriorated into such a poor state," she said.

Image copyright Google
Image caption Gertrude Bell's former home has been a pub and a hotel but is now empty and has fallen into disrepair

The current owners have planning permission to convert the building into flats, but are "sympathetic to the building's relevance to the community", she said.

The manager of Bell's photographic archive at Newcastle University, Dr Mark Jackson, said it was "desperately sad" her home had fallen into disrepair.

The house was designed by renowned Arts and Crafts movement architect, Philip Webb, and the interiors were by designer and artist William Morris "so it's an architecturally important building", he added.

Image copyright Gertrude Bell Archive
Image caption Gertrude Bell pictured in Egypt with Winston Churchill and TE Lawrence

Bell left a "fantastic record" of buildings and communities long since destroyed, including 50 photographs of Palmyra in 1900, much of which has been destroyed by so-called Islamic State, Dr Jackson said.

In 2015 Nicole Kidman starred in a film about Bell's life, Queen of the Desert.

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