Fun at the Mill Again! – The Tolkien weekend at Sarehole Mill

by Mar 21, 2001Events

Ian Collier from the Tolkien Society just emailed me this page of info about the upcoming Tolkien weekend at Sarehole Mill, in Birmingham.

Not any sort of random location, Sarehole Mill stood across the road from Tolkien’s house when he was a young boy, often sneaking onto the mill’s grounds. It sounds like a great time to meet fellow Tolkien fans and wander about the good professor’s youthful stomping grounds… If you can, definitely take this opportunity and set time aside to go on May 19th-20th!!!

Here’s all the press release info on the Tolkien Weekend:

Fun at Mill Again!

19th-20th May 2001

Fun at Mill Again! for the second year running the Tolkien weekend at Sarehole Mill, will consist of displays from the Tolkien Country Park Partners about their activities, a host of other activities for visitors including a dramatisation of one of Tolkien’s other works Farmer Giles of Ham and information about the proposed park. The weekend is intended to be a fun day out for locals and interested members of the media and to publicise the concept of the park and launch the Park Proposal Document.

Last year’s Fun at Mill weekend (13-14th May) saw 1600 people visiting Sarehole Mill, about 1000 more people than normally turn up for open days and that’s not counting the people who paused to look at the exhibitions and craft displays on the green behind the mill. Sarehole Mill was the “original” of the Mill at Bywater in The Lord of the Rings, and is now maintained as a traditional milling museum. The Fun at Mill exhibitions were a joint effort on the part of Birmingham City Council library and the Tolkien Society.

In addition to the exhibition, there were children’s activities, guided walks around Mosely Bog, the historic crafts displays and at intervals throughout each day of the weekend dramatisations of parts of The Hobbit by members of local dramatic groups. These took place in a natural theatre space just to one side of the courtyard at the front of the mill and the three trolls were a highlight for most visitors and those manning the information displays and activity areas.

In the mill area children (and some adults) had the opportunity to draw pictures of dragons, goblins, a hobbit-hole and the mill itself, while on the green there was face painting and archery.

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 centered 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.


Contact details for those wishing to discuss the Park Project:

(Please note that all these societies are run by volunteers in their spare time)

The Tolkien Society: e-mail

Mrs Chris Crawshaw, 30 Span Meadow, Shawbirch, Telford, TF5 0NE.

Can be contacted by fax 01952-246097 with a reply usually within 24 hours.

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:

c/o Peter Bennett, 68 Smirrcus Road, Hall Green, Birmingham, B28 0LB.

The Wildlife Trust for Birmingham and the Black Country:

c/o Peter Bennett address as above.

About the Tolkien Society

The Tolkien Society was founded in 1969, its aim being to further interest in the life and works of Professor J.R.R. Tolkien, CBE, the author of The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings and other works of fiction and philological study. Based in the United Kingdom and registered as an independent, non-profit making charity, the Society boasts an international membership. The Society helps to bring together those with like minds, both formally and informally, with gatherings throughout the year. There are three such events at a national level: an Annual General Meeting and Dinner, the Seminar and Oxonmoot.

The AGM is held in a different town in the UK each year. A formal dinner follows the business meeting of the society with a guest speaker. The 2000 AGM & Dinner held in Gloucester featured Patrick Curry, author of Defending Middle-earth as the Guest Speaker.

The Seminar takes place in the summer with a programme of talks given on a Tolkien-related subject. These range from the serious to the light in tone and there is always something for everyone. The 2000 Seminar was held in Bristol and took “The Change of Ages” as its topic.

The special event of the Tolkien Society year is Oxonmoot, held over a weekend in September in an Oxford College. There are a range of events such as talks, discussions, slide-shows and a party. It is a great time for learning more, having fun and making new friends.

The society produces two publications; a bulletin, Amon Hen, appears six times a year with Tolkien-related reviews, news, letters, artwork and articles, both humorous and serious. The annual journal, Mallorn, is more serious in nature with longer critical articles, reviews and essays. For young members there is an active group, “Entings”, which has its own section in the Society bulletin.

We also have a web-site, which provides members and non-members with general information about the park project, the society and the life and works of J.R.R. Tolkien:

For membership and general enquiries please write to:

The Secretary, 210 Prestbury Road, CHELTENHAM, United Kingdom. GL52 3ER.


Any queries regarding this Press Release should be addressed to:

Ian Collier, Publicity Officer, 18 Howard Street, Oxford, OX4 3BE e-mail


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