Tolkien exhibition opens at Eccleshall Library

People interested in celebrating the author of The Lord of the Rings’ and his links with Staffordshire can get the chance at a unique exhibition currently at Eccleshall Library

This fascinating insight into the early years of JRR Tolkien, one of the world’s best-loved writers, and his time spent in Staffordshire has already been seen by over 250,000 visitors since it launched in March 2016.

The exhibition is visiting Eccleshall Library from Tuesday 24th April to Saturday 2nd June.

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

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.”

Arriving in Staffordshire on 17 August 1915, JRR Tolkien would begin a connection with the county 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.

During the Great War, Second Lieutenant J.R.R. Tolkien of the Lancashire Fusiliers trained in Staffordshire before he was sent to serve on the front lines of the infamously bloody Battle of the Somme.

After contracting trench fever at the Battle of the Somme in June 1916, Tolkien was shipped back to Staffordshire to recover 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. During this time, he began writing his earliest fantasy works for what is now called Middle-Earth.

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.

The exhibition will be available during normal library opening times.

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

Forthcoming library tour Dates:

  • Norton Canes, Tuesday 5 June – Saturday 14 July
  • Hednesford, Tuesday 17 July – Saturday 1 September
  • Shenstone, Tuesday 4 September – Saturday 13 October
  • Penkridge, Tuesday 16 October – Saturday 1 December

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