And checked in with this great little report about the ‘Tolkien Weekend’ that went down on the 13th and 14th of May.

Dear X

Hope you find this of interest…

On 13th May there was a Tolkien weekend at Sarehole Mill in Birmingham. This is the mill that Tolkien referred to in his forward to LOTR.

It was in this suburb of Birmingham that JRRT spent part of his childhood, and in this idyllic rural setting gained inspiration for the setting of the Shire in his novels. With the development of the railways and the expansion of Birmingham as an industrial centre much of the rural landscape was lost. It has been suggested that this was a theme reflected in the Scouring of the Shire in LOTR.

Tolkien says in the final paragraph of his foreward “I recently saw in a paper a picture of the last decrepitude of the once thriving corn-mill beside its pool that long ago seemed to me so important.”

Fortunately since Tolkien wrote those words, the mill in question has been restored and is now a working museum. See picture. At the Tolkien weekend, there were members of the Tolkien society, drawings from local schoolchildren, craft exhibitions, booksales and dramatic readings from the Hobbit. Also not far from the mill is a wood that was the inspirartion for the Old Forest. I think I found the right place and took a photo, even though it doesn’t look very foreboding…


Andy Cooper

The Sarehole Mill Museum and Tolkien’s ‘Old Forest’