August 12, 2001
Call to Re-open
Tolkien, who wrote the epic trilogy Lord Of The Rings, and whose book The Hobbit is the best selling fiction book of the 20th century, lived in and around Moseley for most of his childhood.
A Liberal Democrat activist, Martin Mullaney (left), has drawn up a petition outlining six measures he'd like to see implemented, including the erection of a statue to the writer. Mr Mullaney says that the casual visitor to Moseley would, at present, get little idea that the writer, who has millions of readers all over the world, once lived there. He points out that the only real reference is in a small exhibition at nearby Sarehole Mill.
Mr Mullaney is doubly anxious to get the Tolkien links recognised because a major new film-version of Lord Of The Rings is due for release at Christmas. He believes that the tourist potential for Moseley is enormous.
Tolkien's family moved to Birmingham in 1896 when the writer (right) was just four years old. His home at 264 Wake Green Road backed onto the so-called Moseley Bog, now a nature sanctuary run by Birmingham City council. It's believed the young Tolkien spent a lot of time playing and walking there, particularly in a wooded section called The Dell. The Dell (pictured above) was shut to the public in 1999 for safety reasons.
The then tiny village of nearby Sarehole is said to have been the model for the Shire, home of Bilbo in 'The Hobbit', and the Moseley Bog is recalled in the same book as the "Old Forest".
The petition wish-list: