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Penkridge Library Tolkien Collection
Reading Hack volunteer Mikey Roberts and the Penkridge Library Tolkien Collection

Tolkien journey expected at Penkridge Library

An exhibition celebrating the author of The Lord of the Rings’ links with Staffordshire continues its year-long tour across the region.

“J.R.R. Tolkien – Soldier and Myth Maker” organised by The Haywood Society, supported by Staffordshire County Council’s Libraries and Arts Service and the Museum of Cannock Chase, funded by The Heritage Lottery Fund, is to close at Codsall Library on Monday 22 August and open at Penkridge Library from Wednesday 24 August to Wednesday 5 October.

Second Lieutenant J.R.R Tolkien trained for the Great War on Cannock Chase until he was sent to France in June 1916 where he saw action at the Battle of the Somme.

The exhibition, which has grown out of the researches of local historians, explores the time Tolkien spent in Staffordshire and the part it played in his personal life and his early writing developing the mythology and geography of what we now know as Middle-earth.

This fascinating insight has enthralled an estimated 20,000 visitors since its launch in March.

Libraries’ Chief, County Councillor Gill Heath, said it’s clear that Staffordshire had a profound effect on this famous writer’s formative years, and that the county is right to feel proud of those links when his worldwide appeal is probably at its highest.

Gill said:

This fascinating exhibition has secured rare photos and original sketches of domestic scenes and landscapes by Tolkien, not seen in Staffordshire since they left with the author in 1918, kindly loaned by The Tolkien Estate and Bodleian Library.

Visitors have described “Soldier and Myth Maker” as a fantastic introduction to how local history can be related to national figures and bring a greater in-depth understanding to local history, in a unique and genuine way.

Penkridge Library, has an internationally recognised collection of references and history which connect this part of the county to the world famous author – approximately 175 items described as “arguably one of the best library collections celebrating Tolkien’s life and works in the region.”

The Hobbit movies director Peter Jackson wrote to Penkridge Library in 2011 saying – “Tolkien’s connections to Staffordshire are well documented, and I am very pleased that you have taken it upon yourselves to join with the community of Tolkien fans around Britain, and the world, to celebrate and educate people in all matters Tolkien”

The JRR Tolkien in Staffordshire exhibition will be at Penkridge Library until Wednesday 5 October and will then move to Stafford’s Shire Hall Gallery until Wednesday 16 November.

Please visit www.staffordshiregreatwar.com for more details or ask at your local library.