Tolkien in the Archives

Tolkien and #Birmingham….some think that Old Joe the University of Birmingham clock tower was Tolkien’s inspiration for the all seeing Eye of Sauron in #LOTR….As it was being built at Birmingham University Chancellors Court when Tolkien was a pupil at King Edwards School when it was in New Street in Birmingham City Centre before KES moved to Edgbaston opposite the @UniBirmingham Guild of Students in Edgbaston Park Road not far probably 100 metres from #OldJoe or the #EyeofSauron depending on what you believe Tolkien’s inspiration was, not just the #TwoTowers in Reservoir Road also in Edgbaston round the corner from where Tolkien lived in Stirling Road Edgbaston when an orphan pupil at #TheOratorySchool at The Ivy Bush on the Hagley Road. Tolkien actually walked 🚶‍♂️the love of his life Edith Bratt around Edgbaston Reservoir as a teenager.

The Iron Room

It’s now twenty years since The Lord of The Rings : The Fellowship of the Ring was released. Hard to believe, I know – I vividly remember the publicity surrounding the launch of the first in the trilogy of Peter Jackson’s cinematic vision of JRR Tolkien’s fantasy adventure novels.

The attention surrounding the film and subsequent releases prompted interest in Tolkien’s connection to Birmingham either via the time he spent in the city during his adolescence or how features of Birmingham’s topographical landscape may have influenced settings and landmarks in the books.

At the time, Local Studies & History Service and the City Archive – predecessors of Archives & Collections, received a swath of enquiries relating to Tolkien’s connection to Birmingham and what the library’s collections held. The level of emails has tailed off since those giddy days, but we continue to receive enquiries on Tolkien. 


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