A Recap: Fun at the Mill... Again! - Press Release from The Tolkien Society


The Bog at the Mill...
Fun at Mill ... Again!

This year’s "Fun At Mill...Again!" (19th-20th May) saw over 2,200 people visit Sarehole Mill, Birmingham and the Craft Fair on the green behind it, a rise of over 1/3 on last year’s "Fun At Mill". "Fun At Mill...Again!" was made up of displays from the Tolkien Country Park Partners about their activities, plus a host of other activities including story-telling, guided walks through the area including the history and wildlife of Moseley Bog and the River Cole, exhibitions, crafts, and a dramatisation of Tolkien’s "Farmer Giles of Ham". The weekend was fun day out for locals, Tolkien fans and interested members of the media, bringing them to the mill, an often overlooked historical site, Moseley Bog and to publicise the concept of the country park which will protect these locations.

The Tolkien Society were successful in applying for a grant of £4,900 from the National Lottery’s Awards for All programme to stage this second Tolkien Weekend event at Sarehole Mill. This meant that funds were available to keep the museum at the mill open for extra hours, with a miller demonstrating his craft. The Lottery fund money was also used to meet the production costs of a dramatic presentation of Tolkien’s story Farmer Giles of Ham in the mill courtyard and to cover the costs of craft demonstrators.

Last year’s Fun at Mill weekend (13-14th May 2000) saw 1,600 people visiting Sarehole Mill, about 1,000 more than the usual number attracted on open days; and that is not including those who only looked at the exhibitions and craft displays on the green behind the mill. So Fun At Mill…Again! saw a bumper number of people coming to see Sarehole Mill, the "original" of the Mill at Bywater in The Lord of the Rings.

A Tolkien Country Park?

The Fun at Mill weekends have been organised to provide a free good day out, and to publicise the concept of a new park centred around Sarehole Mill. Contrary to several articles in the press in 1998, this is not a Tolkien Theme Park, but a country park based around Sarehole Mill and Moseley Bog. Since 1998 a group of charitable organisations, the Moseley LNR Conservation Group, the River Cole and Chinn Book Conservation Group, The Tolkien Society and The Wildlife Trust for Birmingham and the Black Country, otherwise known as the Tolkien Country Park Partners, have been working towards the creation of this park in Birmingham. It was decided that this park should be known as The Tolkien Country Park because of the importance of the area to world-famous author of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. The plan is to create a linear park along the course of the River Cole past Sarehole Mill, which is believed to be the last functioning water mill in Birmingham. The suggestions came initially from local residents, some of whom were aware of Tolkien’s links with the area. The Tolkien Country Park Partners are:

The Tolkien Society
30 Span Meadow, Shawbirch, Telford, TF5 0NE.

The Moseley Bog LNR Conservation Group
c/o Mrs Joy Fifer MBE, Wake Green Road, Moseley, Birmingham, B13 9UZ.

The River Cole & Chinn Brook Conservation Group:
The Wildlife Trust for Birmingham and the Black Country.
c/o Peter Bennett, 68 Smirrcus Road, Hall Green, Birmingham, B28 0LB.

Any queries regarding this Press Release should be addressed to:
Ian Collier, Publicity Officer, 18 Howard Street, Oxford, OX4 3BE e-mail publicity@tolkiensociety.org

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