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Tolkien mannequin in uniform
A mannequin of Second-Lieutenant Tolkien sits at the 'Tolkien in Staffordshire' exhibition.

Exhibition celebrates Tolkien’s link with Staffordshire

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

VIDEO: Take a sneak peek at the exhibition

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 almost 100,000 visitors since it launched in March 2016.

Now the exhibition is set to visit Brampton Museum in Newcastle-under-Lyme, from 24 June to 22 July.

Highlights of the exhibition include 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.”

During the Great War, Second Lieutenant J. R. R. Tolkien of the Lancashire Fusiliers was stationed in Staffordshire, 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 his marriage in March 1916 Tolkien’s wife came to live in Great Haywood so that she could be close to him.  Tolkien regularly visited Edith in the village until he was posted to France in June 1916.

Tolkien returned to Great Haywood in early December 1916 to recover from his traumatic experiences at the Somme. He lived with Edith in a cottage there until late February 1917 and during this time created his first mythological stories, in part inspired by Staffordshire landscapes and experiences.

After a posting to East Yorkshire for the remainder of 1917 into 1918, Tolkien returned to Staffordshire in May 1918 and lived in a cottage at Gipsy Green, Teddesley Park, near Penkridge, where other important work was undertaken.

Also, to complement the exhibition, The Friends of Brampton Museum, have invited local historian David Robbie to present a talk, ‘J.R.R. Tolkien in Staffordshire 1915 – 1918 – ‘Soldier and Myth-Maker’-about Tolkien’s time in the county during the Great War as a soldier in its army camps and as a writer on a literary journey towards Middle-earth.

This period was a personal journey as a young, newly-married army officer but also a continuation of a literary journey that the war had threatened to interrupt.

David’s talk is the perfect complement to the J.R.R. Tolkien in Staffordshire 1915 – 1918 touring exhibition. The talk will take place 28th June at 2.30, £3 including refreshments. Places are limited, to book, please contact: Brampton Museum, Brampton Road, Newcastle under Lyme, Staffs. ST5 0QP

Tel: 01782 619705   e-mail: bramptonmuseum@newcastle-staffs.gov.uk