Traveller, archaeologist, writer and diplomat,
Gertrude Margaret Lowthian Bell, CBE, explored, mapped, and became highly influential to British imperial policy-making due to her knowledge and contacts, built up through extensive travels in Syria-Palestine, Mesopotamia, Asia Minor, and Arabia. Along with T. E. Lawrence, Bell helped support the Hashemite dynasties in what is today Jordan as well as in Iraq. She played a major role in establishing and helping administer the modern state of Iraq, using her unique perspective from her travels and relations with tribal leaders throughout the Middle East. During her lifetime she was highly esteemed and trusted by British officials and exerted an immense amount of power. She has been described as "one of the few representatives of His Majesty's Government remembered by the Arabs with anything resembling affection".
Born in County Durham to a wealthy family. Brought up at the family estate, Red Barns (designed by Philip Webb) at Redcar. Died Baghdad, Iraq.