Tolkien Plaque Placed at Sarehole Mill – Commemorating JRR Tolkien’s Childhood

by Aug 17, 2002Other News

Thanks to Alex for the info!

On Thursday 15th August, Richard Crawshaw of the Tolkien Society and Graham Allan of Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery unveiled a plaque commemorating JRR Tolkien’s childhood connections with Sarehole Mill in Birmingham.

<!–±2651|right|The Bog near Sarehole Mill±–>Sarehole Mill, a corn-grinding watermill, now lies within suburban Birmingham, but in Tolkien’s youth the area was still mostly rural. The local people and surrounding countryside are thought to have been the main inspiration for the Shire and its Hobbits. Tolkien and his younger brother played around the mill as children, and were often chased away from the mill’s dangerous machinery by the millers. This undoubtedly explains Tolkien’s attitude to millers, shown in the unpleasant character he gives Ted Sandyman.

Birmingham Civic Society sponsors the blue plaque scheme which celebrates notable figures and locations from Birmingham’s history. Today’s unveiling brings the total number of plaques to 76, of which more than one relate to Tolkien.

A reception was held after the unveiling, which was attended by Birmingham’s Lord Mayor. There were talks from Assistant Curator of the mill, Irene de Boo, and local historian Bob Blackham. These described the mill’s long history, including its association with Matthew Boulton, a leading figure of the industrial revolution, as well as the connection to Tolkien.

Photographs and a full report of the event will be posted soon on the Tolkien Society website,

The Tolkien Society was founded in 1969 to further interest in the life and works of J.R.R. Tolkien, C.B.E., the author of The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, The Silmarillion and other works of fiction and philological study. Based in the United Kingdom and registered as an independent, non-profit making charity, number 273809, the Society has an international membership which benefits from regular publications and events.


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