From the Twin Towers to the Two Towers


From the Twin Towers to the Two Towers: Tolkien’s Birmingham Connection

Tolkien’s Birmingham Connection


J.R.R. Tolkien was a literary scholar and novelist. Over the last few years his books have become even more popular due to Peter Jackson’s film adaptations of “Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit.”

I moved to the Birmingham area, in the West Midlands of England a few years ago, but it was only last year that I discovered Tolkien’s connection to the area and how it featured prominently during the early years of his life.

Arthur Tolkien travelled to South Africa, prior to his marriage, and took up the position of a manager of a branch of the Bank of Africa. Both J.R.R. and his brother Hilary were born in the Orange Free State, but in April 1895 J.R.R. came to England with his mother and brother, as the South African climate did not suit his mother. While staying with her parents in King’s Heath near Birmingham, the family received news Arthur had gone down with rheumatic fever and had also had a severe haemorrhage from which he never recovered. As you can imagine this changed the family’s lives forever as they would not be returning to South Africa as they had planned.

Both boys would soon need to be educated and J.R.R.’s mother rented a small house before moving into the Warwickshire countryside. Mrs Tolkien educated the boys herself. But things soon changed when Mrs Tolkien took the boys to St Ann’s church which was on the site of the Birmingham Oratory which had been founded by John Henry Newman.

In September 1900 J.R.R. passed the entrance examination for King Edward’s School in Birmingham. With the help of a relative J.R.R. took his place and the family rented a small house in Moseley. The family then started attending the Birmingham Oratory and they were befriended by Father Francis Morgan.

It was Father Francis who found J.R.R. a place at the Grammar School the Oratory had founded when he was forced to leave King Edward’s School for financial reasons. The family moved again, but the accommodation was not idea and the academic standards of the Grammar School weren’t challenging enough for J.R.R. Thanks to his mother he went back to King Edward’s as a Foundation Scholar in the autumn of 1903. J.R.R. developed a deep interest in English Literature thanks to one of the assistant masters.

His mother’s fear of leaving her son’s orphans made her make the boys wards and Father Francis their guardian.

J.R.R. and Hilary then went to live with an aunt in Stirling Road, Edgbaston, but to the boys the Oratory was home.

The Two Towers in Stirling Road

Twin Towers

The boys lived in Stirling Road between 1905 and 1908 and during that time J.R.R. would have seen two landmarks. One was a folly and the other a dark red and blue brick Neo-Gothic structure which was part of the local waterworks. Locally they were called “the twin towers.” There is every possibility that these “towers” influenced the second book of “The Lord of the Rings Trilogy.”

In 1908 the brothers moved in with a Mrs Faulkner who gave them board and lodgings. J.R.R. became close to another lodger Edith Bratt. Father Francis disapproved and in 1910 Edith moved to Cheltenham. Three years later the couple were reunited and eventually they married. J.R.R.’s first son John Francis was named after his former guardian.

When Father Francis died in 1935 he left £1000 each to J.R.R. and Hilary.

Some relics of J.R.R.’s association with Birmingham Oratory are still at Oratory House.
I was thrilled to find the link between Tolkien and the area that I live in as I love his books. Whether you have read his novels or not I hope you have found his connection to Birmingham interesting.

Tracey Wickham (c) 2015

To see more of Tracey Wickham's work, scroll down to the bottom of the page to view her member details


Images used for this article include:
By User Oosoom on en.wikipedia (en.wikipedia) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Perrots Folly
"Tolkien 1916-2" di Tolkien_1916.jpg: Unknown, changes based on: http://www.kulichki.com/tolkien/cabinet/fotos/jrrt_war.jpgderivative work: Merrinen - Tolkien_1916.jpg. Con licenza Pubblico dominio tramite Wikimedia Commons - Tolkien_1916

ReadersGazette.Com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

Newsletter

© Copyright 2015 ReadersGazette.Com and on behalf of their authors, all rights reserved.

Scroll Down To Leave A Comment.

Written by Tracey Wickham

Visit RG Member 780
Below you can TWEET or SHARE this Article.
click the book image to see more about the book.

J.R.R. Tolkien was a literary scholar and novelist. Over the last few years his books have become even more popular due to Peter Jackson’s film adaptations of “Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit.” I moved to...

A Murder Is Foreseen (The Anya Harding Series Book 1) by Tracey Wickham

Anya Harding is a Reiki Master/Teacher who runs her own successful business, but her life changes when she starts having a recurring dream about a murder.
Anya then discovers she has developed clairvoyant abilities and that the dream she is having is actually showing a murder which has not yet been committed. To complicate matters more Anya is also told that she is a witch.
Anya then starts working with the Police to try and stop the murder from happening. But with details sketchy...



Please Leave A Comment


ReadersGazette.Com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

Amazon USA

Amazon.com - Read eBooks using the FREE Kindle Reading App on Most Devices

Join Amazon Prime - Watch Over 40,000 Movies & TV Shows Anytime - Start Free Trial Now

Shop Amazon - Contract Cell Phones & Service Plans

Join Amazon Student FREE Two-Day Shipping for College Students

Shop Amazon - Give the Gift of Amazon Prime

Amazon UK

Amazon UK Deals in Electronics and PC

Amazon Prime UK 30-day Free Trial

Amazon Prime Video UK 30-day Free Trial

Amazon Prime Music UK 30-day Free Trial

Audible UK 30-day Free Trial



Kindle Unlimited

Fast, FREE shipping and more. Prime members also enjoy exclusive access to movies and TV shows, music, unlimited photo storage and Kindle books.
Try USA Prime for FREE
Try UK Prime for FREE

Audible

Immerse yourself in inspiring voices by master storytellers who bring books to life, illuminating characters and taking you deep inside the story.
Try USA Audible for FREE
Try UK Audible for FREE

ALL THE ARTICLES

Click the image to view



How to auto-retweet a mention for FREE

RoundTeam is the Twitter owned service for retweeting tweets. It offers a very basic Free version and then many paid options, with a limit of 200 tweets a month and just 1 configuration, the free... continue reading click image.



Who Will Be The Next Doctor Who?

Phoebe Waller-Bridge has apparantly tweeted that it will not be her to be the new Doctor Who but according to Ladbrokes she is still favourite. Yes really the Brits are gambling on who will become... continue reading click image.



Smooth Operator

Every set of “travel misadventure” stories has at least one “ladyboy” experience, we’ve all seen them regurgitated a thousand times and it all comes down to “got this gorgeous girl back... continue reading click image.



The Magic of Spirit

Go back to that time in your life when you have seen a magician, a film about magic or read a book and never forgotten that magical moment, lost in the world of the unknown, fantasy and magic it... continue reading click image.



Why a spirit of adventure can help you to become a memoir writer

Memoirs have become an incredibly popular genre of book in recent years. I don’t know when it started, but for me, the first memoir I read, which was Peter Mayle’s A Year in Provence got me... continue reading click image.



6 lessons about the business of being an author

In 2014 I independently published my first book through Amazon’s Createspace and KDP. The process taught me a lot about writing, publishing, marketing and mainly myself. Recently, I was asked to... continue reading click image.



The Social Author

So you have written your novels and they sit waiting to be grabbed off of Amazon or one of the other Internet Book Stores and there they sit waiting and waiting. The problem with Amazon or anywhere... continue reading click image.


Pages:  1 2 3 L




Try Video

Enjoy unlimited streaming of movies and TV shows. Anywhere, anytime.
Try USA Video for FREE
Try UK Video for FREE

Reading App

Read Everywhere with the Free Kindle Reading Apps.
USA FREE Kindle Reading App
UK FREE Kindle Reading App