Exhibition celebrates Tolkien’s link with Staffordshire

People from Stone will get the chance to see a new exhibition celebrating the author of The Lord of the Rings’ links with Staffordshire.


This fascinating insight into the early years of J.R.R. Tolkien, one of the world’s best-loved writers, and his time spent in Staffordshire, has already been seen by over 40,000 visitors since it launched in March 2016.

Now the exhibition is set to visit the Shire Hall Gallery in Stafford from Tuesday 25th October to Wednesday 16th November.

Some of local artist Hannah Reynolds’ specially commissioned original artwork, which can be seen in the exhibition

Staffordshire artist Hannah Reynolds is also holding a Dragon Craft Workshop on Thursday 27th October from 10am – 12 noon to engage children and families with Tolkien’s work by making magical treasure and maps.

JRR Tolkien’s Staffordshire Map by Hannah Reynolds


Local historian and exhibition collaborator David Robbie at the exhibition launch

Local historian David Robbie will also discuss Tolkien’s time in the county in a talk about how the Great War impacted the author’s writing career. “J.R.R. Tolkien – Soldier and Myth-Maker” is on Wednesday 26th October from 7 – 8pm.

Gill Heath, Libraries Chief at Staffordshire County Council said:

This is a fascinating exhibition with thousands of people already getting the chance to see it. It’s clear that Staffordshire had a profound effect on this famous writer’s formative years, and we’re very proud of this connection.

The ‘Tolkien in Staffordshire’ story is one of war, comradeship, creativity, love and loss and this exhibition offers visitors a rare chance to learn more about the author’s stay in Staffordshire and what it was like to be a soldier in the Great War.”

Highlights of the exhibition include rare photos and copies of original sketches of domestic scenes and landscapes by Tolkien, not seen in Staffordshire since they left with the author in 1918, specially loaned by The Tolkien Estate and Bodleian Library.

Arriving in Staffordshire on 17th August 1915, J.R.R. Tolkien would begin a connection with Staffordshire that would span the remaining years of the Great War and provide inspiration for the mythology and geography of what we now know as Middle-earth.

The author was stationed first at Whittington Heath, near Lichfield, next at a musketry camp at Newcastle-under-Lyme, then at Rugeley and Brocton Camps on Cannock Chase.

After seeing action during the infamous Battle of the Somme in June 1916, Tolkien spent a period of convalescence, with his new wife Edith, in Great Haywood. The Tolkiens later briefly took up residence in a cottage at Gipsy Green, Teddesley Park, near Penkridge.

John Garth, author of Tolkien and the Great War, and 15-year-old library Reading Hack volunteer Mikey Roberts

For further details on the exhibition visit www.staffordshiregreatwar.com  or the Staffordshire Libraries webpages at www.staffordshire.gov.uk.

For more information on the Dragon Craft Workshop or to book a place, contact Shire Hall Gallery on 01785 278345 or email: shirehallgallery@staffordshire.gov.uk. Booking is essential and is £2 per child.

“J.R.R. Tolkien – Soldier and Myth-Maker” is organised by The Haywood Society, supported by Staffordshire County Council’s Libraries and Arts Service and the Museum of Cannock Chase, and funded by The Heritage Lottery Fund.

 Tour Dates:

  • Shire Hall Gallery – Tues 25th October to Wed 16th November
  • Lichfield Library – Friday 18th November to Saturday 8th January 2017
  • Stafford Library / SP1 foyer – Tuesday 10th January to Mon 27th February 2017  



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