A record of wildlife in my garden and various trips to the Warwickshire countryside and occasionally further afield.
"To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour."
From "Auguries of Innocence"
by William Blake
Friday, 22 June 2012
On the Trail of Tolkien Part 2 - The Two Towers
I happened to be near the Edgbaston part of Birmingham on Monday morning so I decided I'd go along and have a look at the two towers that it has been suggested, (though I have to say not proven!), may have given J R R Tolkien inspiration for "Minas Morgul" and "Minas Tirith" - the Two Towers after which the second volume of Lord of the Rings is named.
The two towers in Edgbaston are Perrott's Folly and a nearby Victorian tower which is part of Edgbaston Water Works. Tolkien would have seen these towers on a regular basis as for while in the early 1900's he lived nearby for a time in Stirling Road and also Oliver Road, he attended the Oratory following his mother's conversion to Catholicism and also visited a local pub "The Ivy Bush".
This tower is 96 feet (30 metres) tall and is named after John Perrott who built it in 1758. This gothic tower contains 7 rooms and there are 139 spiral steps.
Over the years it has been used for many purposes, for example, a country hunting retreat and a weather station.
Today there is a medical practice on one side and a car park on the other!
It is a Grade 2 listed building and is, sadly, in need of restoration. I believe it is now owned by the Trident House Association. Unfortunately, it is not open to the public on a day to day basis and this little garden was overgrown and the entry shut and padlocked.
Apparently the door from the top room onto the tower roof is only 3 feet high - hobbit height!
The other tower is Edgbaston Waterworks Tower - which is in fact a chimney!
A not so romantic view showing the entrance to the waterworks in the foreground
I stopped off at the Oratory (I was running out of time by now so this is just a poor view of the side of the building). Mabel Tolkien (Ronald's mother) together with her sons attended here when they lived nearby. A Father Francis Xavier Morgan became the boys' guardian and helped the family and offered support during Mabel's illness and subsequent death.
I ought perhaps to mention that, although Tolkien lived in Birmingham from 1896 to 1911, in later life he lived in various other parts of England - Leeds and Oxford and also fought at the Battle of the Somme in France, so I am sure there are claims from many other places to have inspired Tolkien in his writings.
Welcome to my blog. I have been interested in natural history from an early age and we have tried to create a garden attractive to wildlife. I also enjoy reading, photography, collecting fossils, visiting historic buildings and gardens and supporting Aston Villa. Please feel free to leave a comment and, if you would like to email me, my email address is ciraggedrobinsATgmail.com - remember to replace AT with @. Thank you for visiting.