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Welcome to birmingham.gov.uk

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The Birmingham Tolkien Group

J. R. R. Tolkien, author of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, is one of Birmingham's most famous authors.

The Birmingham Tolkien Group is working to promote the connection of Tolkien with Birmingham.


 Sarehole Mill and millpond, contemporary
Tolkien's connection with Birmingham

J. R. R. Tolkien's family and parents came from Birmingham. He himself grew up in Sarehole, Moseley, King's Heath and Edgbaston in the years leading up to the First World War. He said that the beauty of the countryside there had a profound effect on him.

The landscape of the Shire, in The Hobbit and in The Lord of the Rings, was based on Sarehole Mill and on the farmland around - now the Shire Country Park. The hobbits, he thought, were like the people he met then, with greater gifts of courage than imagination. Tolkien left Birmingham when he was nineteen, but returned often to visit friends and relatives. Later in life he described both Birmingham and Oxford as his 'home-town'.

 Old Birmingham bus, visit to the Oratory church
Visitors to Tolkien's Birmingham
Many people visit Birmingham because of their interest in Tolkien. Every year since May 2000 there has been a Weekend at Sarehole celebrating Tolkien's life and work. Those who come are from the local community, from the UK, and worldwide; for example in the last couple of years from Poland, Germany, the USA, Canada and Australia - usually about 10,000 visitors over the Saturday and Sunday. Comments overheard during the Weekend:
Mummy, can we come early next year? and It's been the best day of my life.

 5 Gracewell at Sarehole, Tolkien house 1896-1900
The aims of the Birmingham Tolkien Group
  • To celebrate Tolkien's connection with Birmingham in his youth.
  • To contribute to the positive image of Birmingham by promoting this to a wider audience.
  • To develop a Tolkien Centre giving a focal point to Tolkien and his work, answering a need often expressed by visitors.

This would enable Birmingham to benefit as a city by developing a comprehensive package of activities for residents and visitors alike.
J. R. R. Tolkien
J. R. R. Tolkien's childhood in Birmingham
J. R. R. Tolkien's youth in Birmingham