Birmingham’s tourism bosses are hoping that a new attraction devoted to author JRR Tolkien will be popular with visitors to the city.
The writer of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings Trilogy was raised in Birmingham between 1895 and 1911 and his popularity is expected to soar after the film version of The Hobbit is released in cinemas this summer.
Birmingham’s scenery and architecture was reflected in his stories and it is thought that The Two Towers in the Lord of the Rings where modeled on Perrott’s Folly and Edgbaston Waterworks.
Birmingham has been accused previously of not making the most of its links with Tolkein so it is thought that the new gallery at Sarehole Mill in Hall Green will highlight the world famous author’s links with the city. The gallery will include a series of displays and a short film celebrating Tolkein and his links to the city.
Birmingham’s former Lord Mayor and chairman of the Birmingham Tolkien Group Michael Wilkes said: “This is a step forward for Tolkien heritage in Birmingham.
“The Birmingham Tolkien Group has worked closely with the city museum service on this. We get visitors from the all over the world here and we’ve even had visitors from eastern Europe.”
Robert Blackman, a local Tolkien author said of Sarehole: “It’s a lovely building. I used come here as a kid when it was derelict. To me it was one of the scariest places on the planet.”
Birmingham’s Tolkien Weekend will be held at Shire Country Park on the weekend of the 19th and 20th May.