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Fun at the Mill – Again! – and the Oxonmoot.

June 10, 2001 at 10:12 pm by Tehanu  - 

Better than ever!

Fun at Mill … Again!

This year’s “Fun At Mill…Again!” (19th-20th May) saw over 2,200 people visit Sarehole Mill, Birmingham and the Craft Fair on the green behind it, a rise of over 1/3 on last year’s “Fun At Mill”. “Fun At Mill…Again!” was made up of displays from the Tolkien Country Park Partners about their activities, plus a host of other activities including story-telling, guided walks through the area including the history and wildlife of Moseley Bog and the River Cole, exhibitions, crafts, and a dramatisation of Tolkien’s “Farmer Giles of Ham”. The weekend was fun day out for locals, Tolkien fans and interested members of the media, bringing them to the mill, an often overlooked historical site, Moseley Bog and to publicise the concept of the country park which will protect these locations.

The Tolkien Society were successful in applying for a grant of £4,900 from the National Lottery’s Awards for All programme to stage this second Tolkien Weekend event at Sarehole Mill. This meant that funds were available to keep the museum at the mill open for extra hours, with a miller demonstrating his craft. The Lottery fund money was also used to meet the production costs of a dramatic presentation of Tolkien’s story Farmer Giles of Ham in the mill courtyard and to cover the costs of craft demonstrators.

Last year’s Fun at Mill weekend (13-14th May 2000) saw 1,600 people visiting Sarehole Mill, about 1,000 more than the usual number attracted on open days; and that is not including those who only looked at the exhibitions and craft displays on the green behind the mill. So Fun At Mill…Again! saw a bumper number of people coming to see Sarehole Mill, the “original” of the Mill at Bywater in The Lord of the Rings.

A Tolkien Country Park?

The Fun at Mill weekends have been organised to provide a free good day out, and to publicise the concept of a new park centred around Sarehole Mill. Contrary to several articles in the press in 1998, this is not a Tolkien Theme Park, but a country park based around Sarehole Mill and Moseley Bog. Since 1998 a group of charitable organisations, the Moseley LNR Conservation Group, the River Cole and Chinn Book Conservation Group, The Tolkien Society and The Wildlife Trust for Birmingham and the Black Country, otherwise known as the Tolkien Country Park Partners, have been working towards the creation of this park in Birmingham. It was decided that this park should be known as The Tolkien Country Park because of the importance of the area to world-famous author of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. The plan is to create a linear park along the course of the River Cole past Sarehole Mill, which is believed to be the last functioning water mill in Birmingham. The suggestions came initially from local residents, some of whom were aware of Tolkien’s links with the area. The Tolkien Country Park Partners are:

The Tolkien Society

30 Span Meadow, Shawbirch, Telford, TF5 0NE.

The Moseley Bog LNR Conservation Group

c/o Mrs Joy Fifer MBE, Wake Green Road, Moseley, Birmingham, B13 9UZ.

The River Cole & Chinn Brook Conservation Group:

The Wildlife Trust for Birmingham and the Black Country.

c/o Peter Bennett, 68 Smirrcus Road, Hall Green, Birmingham, B28 0LB.

Any queries regarding this Press Release should be addressed to:

Ian Collier, Publicity Officer, 18 Howard Street, Oxford, OX4 3BE e-mail publicity@tolkiensociety.org

2nd:
Oxonmoot

21st-23rd September 2001, St Antony’s College, Oxford

Oxonmoot is The Tolkien Society’s annual convention-like event arranged for the weekend closest to the 22nd of September (the birthday of Bilbo and Frodo Baggins as given in The Lord of the Rings). This year we return to St Antony’s College on the northern edge of central Oxford. The average attendance is around 150 people and while mostly TS members the general public are welcome to attend and can sign up for the whole weekend or obtain day tickets on the Saturday.

Registration is £22 for members and £27 for non-members up to 31 July,

and £26 & £32 respectively thereafter.

What is an Oxonmoot?

Oxonmoot is a weekend event for the Tolkien Society, which grew out of early more informal arrangements to meet socially in Oxford prior to a wreath laying at Tolkien’s grave. The weekend is made up of formal and informal talks, seminars, workshops†, an art show, a dealers’ room, a party and a wreath laying and service of remembrance at Tolkien’s grave.

Want to Present a Paper?

†Those who wish to offer a paper, host a seminar or run a workshop are invited to contact the Day Time Events Co-Ordinator (e-mail dte.osc@tolkiensociety.org). Please note that the Tolkien Society and Oxonmoot are organised solely by people volunteering to work the spare time they have from their day jobs.

What Happens at an Oxonmoot?

The weekend itself begins with attendees arriving at the college during the Friday afternoon, the sub-committee/Booking Officer will (in co-operation with the college official responsible) have prepared a list of rooms for the porters, so that those attendees requiring a quiet room, or one they can hold a party in will be accommodated appropriately. After dropping off their bags they can wander the town investigating bookshops, tourist attractions and maybe meeting old friends. Oxonmoot officially starts with ‘Registration’, newcomers and old hands turn up around 6pm to obtain Registration Packs which will contain Oxonmoot (OI) Information (the sheet detailing the weekend programme and local information), their name badge and any special vouchers or tickets that they may be eligible for (first-timers get a drinks voucher for the bar — to help break the ice, the choice of beverage is up to them). Recent years have seen the introduction of an organised meal at a nearby restaurant or pub, being pre-booked with attendance this allows new attendees a chance to meet and eat without having to wander around Oxford. Others can find somewhere to eat either from memory, solid acquaintance or the OI in the company of friends; Oxonmoot has become a byword for friendship and fellowship to many attendees, and is often used as a form of farewell between members from different countries or parts of Britain “Oxonmoot”, in other words ‘see you next at…’, according to their ability to get to other meetings. Other than the meal the only other organisation for the evening is arrangements for the college bar where Oxonmooters gather to catch up on old times over drinks, gossip, make new friends and meet old ones. After the bar closes some members may host room-parties, or a Telerin Circle may be arranged for someone’s room, the latter is an informal gathering to read, or hear others reading aloud, from Tolkien’s works, and occasionally there may be some singing. Behind the scenes in the afternoon and evening the Art Show and Dealers’ rooms will have been set up by sub-committee members and volunteers.

On Saturday there is breakfast in the college dining hall. The day starts around 9am with the opening of the art show, dealers room (these will be open most of the day) and the first of the talks, there may also be a quiz. A Hospitality Room is provided with tea, coffee and biscuits so that those who wish to, can just sit and chat with old friends. Saturday lunch is a buffet reception often with an address from a special guest where attendees can meet them amongst the throng. All other activities are suspended, the Dealers’ and Art Show rooms are closed so that everyone can attend. After lunch the programme resumes until around 6pm. Then members in the company of friends old and new seek somewhere to eat, either in college or town, prior to the evening party. The Party has in recent years been held in college bars or Dining Halls according to the space required and ease of access to the bar, entertainment is provided by musically or dramatically inclined members, professional musicians performing works inspired by Tolkien or dramatic readings and there may also be a mini-masquerade for those who like to make and wear costumes based on characters, creatures or peoples from Tolkien’s stories; many of these are works of art in themselves and some appear in the Art Show.

Sunday starts with another college breakfast and packing, around 10.30 the attendees are bussed to Wolvercote Cemetery where at 11:00, is the ceremony of Enyali?I> (Remembrance), where Oxonmooters gather at the grave of Professor Tolkien to remember the man whose work has inspired all of us. After a short reading and a minute’s silences wreaths are laid. Members can then arrange to meet for lunch at a pub (such as the Eagle & Child otherwise known as the “Bird & Baby”, where Tolkien and CS Lewis met regularly) or attend a Dead Orcs’ lunch in the college.

Past Oxonmoots have seen Shakespearean actor, and the voice for the audio books of The Hobbit & The Lord of the Rings, Rob Inglis run a workshop for those members interested in performing or reading Tolkien’s works in public settings (at schools or the Oxonmoot Party). There have also been displays of artwork by renowned Tolkien illustrator Ted Nasmith and concerts by the Danish Tolkien Ensemble of their settings for songs from The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, in addition to the usual events.

The Tolkien Society has a web-site, which provides members and non-members with general information about the society and the life and works of J.R.R. Tolkien.

For membership and general enquiries please write to:

The Secretary, 210 Prestbury Road, CHELTENHAM, United Kingdom. GL52 3ER.

Any queries regarding this Press Release should be addressed to:

Ian Collier, Publicity Officer, 18 Howard Street, Oxford, OX4 3BE e-mail publicity@tolkiensociety.org

Posted in Old Special Reports on June 10, 2001 by

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