Page last updated at 15:23 GMT, Tuesday, 2 November 2010
Memories of Bettws Cedewain and Lawrence of Arabia
Bettws Cedewain
Herbert Hodgson lived in Bettws Cedewain for nine years

The man who printed one of the most famous memoirs of the 20th century has had his own autobiography published - 36 years after his death.

Herbert Hodgson spent three years working as the printer of Lawrence of Arabia's book, The Seven Pillars of Wisdom.

Mr Hodgson died aged 81 in 1974 but his own book, Impressions of War, was recently published.

This was due to the perseverance of his son, Bernard, who is now 83.

The book also recounts Mr Hodgson senior's memories of living in Bettws Cedewain between 1927 and 1936 when he worked for The Gregynog Press.

My father was recommended to TE Lawrence and he spent the next three years printing the book by hand from a back street in Paddington.
Bernard Hodgson

According to Bernard Hodgson, the book took such a long time to get published because of a lack of interest in World War I during the 1970s.

"There is now a great deal of interest in TE Lawrence and World War I, where my father served in France and Belgium," said Mr Hodgson.

"In a battle in April 1918 my father found a mud-encrusted Bible in a shell hole.

"Amazingly, 92 years later, the original owner of this Bible has been traced to Private Richard Cook from New Zealand who died in the battle of Messines.

"In consultation with the present-day relatives of Richard Cook my family will now donate the Bible to the National Army Museum of New Zealand."

After serving in the First World War, Herbert Hodgson, with Roy Manning Pike, printed the rare 1926 subscribers' edition of The Seven Pillars of Wisdom by TE Lawrence.

Copies of this edition have been auctioned for up to $80,000.

"My father was recommended to TE Lawrence and he spent the next three years printing the book by hand from a back street in Paddington," said Mr Hodgson.

"Soon after the completion of The Seven Pillars, during which time the quality of the production and printing had aroused much attention, my father, now back to jobbing again, received an approach from Robert Maynard, the controller of the Gregynog Press in Tregynon."

Herbert Hodgson worked for nine years at the Gregynog Press where he printed 24 books.

"His period at Gregynog came to an end in 1936 because of lack of employment prospects for his growing family," said Mr Hodgson, who has shared his own memories of Bettws Cedewain for BBC Local




SEE ALSO
Lawrence of Arabia letter found
21 May 10 |  Lincolnshire
T.E. Lawrence, To Arabia and back
02 Jul 09 |  History
Lawrence home is hot property
07 Mar 02 |  Wales

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