What Tolkien Saw

May 16, 2008 at 1:11 am Leave a comment

April 2008

View from Perrott's Folly

I was pleasantly surprised to discover that J.R.R. Tolkien spent his childhood in Birmingham (1895 to 1911) and used the local landscape and imagery in the Lord of the Rings series.  Although I doubt I will go to every spot on the list, I thought The Husband and I should at least see the inspiration for the Two Towers.  I got the shot above by removing the Plexiglas in the window, causing The H to have a spasmodic fit and repeatedly whisper “Someone’s coming, someone’s coming.”

Perrott’s Folly, at the time the tallest tower in Birmingham, is the tower the foreground.  You can just see the second tower, the Edgbaston Waterworks, in the distance.  I imagine they were more imposing 100 years ago not surrounded by modern buildings.  You can see their exact locations on my map.  Look for the yellow markers near the Edgbaston Reservoir in southwest Birmingham.

The Two Towers

Perrott’s Folly is not usually open to the public but there was an art exhibit going on in the tower so we were able to climb to the top.  There are narrow spiral stairs leading to a series of rooms each with different types of windows. 

Inside Perrott's Folly

Each room had a modern art exhibit put on by the Ikon Gallery.  The only piece I really liked consisted of a bent-wood stand holding two small speakers projecting eery music we could hear as we ascended the stairs.  I felt this was an good example of installation art and that the artist had put some thought into the experience of being in a space.  There was another piece that was sort of a knee high tee pee structure made of iron pieces.  It clearly required skilled craftsmanship, but didn’t really evoke a particular feeling.  The rest I felt were uninspired.  The H was less than kind in his assessment of the pastel ceramic noodle shapes stuck to the walls of the second floor room.

We were up there:

Perrott's Folly

The highest dome:

Perrott's ceiling

We also walked to the Edgbaston Waterworks but couldn’t get right up to the tower as the Waterworks are still operational. 

Edgbaston Waterworks

All in all a lovely day out and I still hope to get to Mosely Bog, the inspiration for the Shire.  If only I’d brought my garden gnome.  Now that would be art.

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Entry filed under: Travel, Uncategorized. Tags: , , , , , .

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