A PICTURESQUE cottage once occupied by Lawrence of Arabia has gone on the market for almost £350,000.

The 300-year-old Myrtle Cottage in Shore Road, Hythe, was where Lawrence lodged in the early 1930s after joining the RAF.

Born Thomas Edward Lawrence he achieved worldwide fame after leading an Arab revolt against the Turks during the First World War.

By 1922 he was desperate to escape the limelight and enlisted in the RAF under the name of John Hume Ross, later changing the alias to T E Shaw.

Lawrence was stationed at RAF Calshot, now Calshot Activities Centre, and seconded to the British Power Boat Company in Hythe, where he helped design new vessels.

He lodged at Myrtle Cottage from 1931 to 1932, and the property now bears a blue plaque to mark the association.

A spokesman for estate agents Paul Jeffreys said: "The cottage has many original features, including sash windows, and certainly comes with its own history."

Asked if the Lawrence link would increase interest in the house, he said: "Older properties in the village centre always attract a lot of attention."

Lawrence left the RAF in 1935 and was killed in a motorcycle accident near Wareham, Dorset, the following year.

He was 46. His story was immortalised in the 1962 film Lawrence of Arabia starring Peter O'Toole.