Lawrence of Arabia’s bill unpaid, 100 years on

A 23-year-old Lawrence enjoyed a few drinks in Syria’s Baron hotel, but left the 1914 bill unpaid

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Famed British officer Thomas Edward Lawrence, better known as Lawrence of Arabia, walked into a bar in Aleppo’s Baron hotel in 1914. 100 years later, his bill is still unpaid.

Lawrence partook of some appetizers and enjoyed a few drinks, before he left with the payment outstanding. The original bill is on display in London’s British Museum.


A lodger at the hotel at the age of 23, Lawrence was a member of an archaeological mission. He stayed in Syria for three years and left in 2014, although he only stayed at the Baron for a few days.

Lawrence, who stayed in room 202, consumed six items at the hotel bar, worth 76.70 Ottoman piasters. It is not clear why he did not pay the bill.

Besides Lawrence, the Baron hotel has hosted dozens of celebrities, including novelist Agatha Christie who occupied room 203 in 1943 with her archaeologist husband Max Malone.

In 1918, King Faisal occupied room 215 and delivered from its balcony a speech announcing Syria’s independence from the Ottomans.

Swedish King Gustav Adolf also stayed at the hotel, as did U.S. billionaire David Rockefeller, Egyptian leader Gamal Abdel Nasser and the first man in space, Yuri Gagarin, among others.

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