Birmingham & Black Country

'Tolkien tower': Plans to revamp Perrott's Folly

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Media captionThe tower was bought for £1 by a charity who now want to raise £1m to redevelop it

A charity is hoping to raise £1m to restore an 18th Century tower, which is believed to have inspired the writer JRR Tolkien.

The author is thought to have used Perrott's Folly in Birmingham as the model for one of the two towers in the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

Homelessness charity, Trident Reach The People, has launched a fundraising effort to get it restored.

It wants to turn it into an arts centre and exhibition venue.

The charity said it bought the tower for £1 after a trust fund set up to renovate it was "no longer viable".

It now hopes to raise £1m by getting people to sponsor a brick on the tower, as well as through donations and applying for grants.

Ben Bradley, from the charity, said it bought the tower because it was in an area of high social deprivation and could provide support services for local people.

"We want to open up the building so it's available for lots of people to enjoy because the local community are at the centre of everything we do," he said.

"The folly has had a lot of visitors from the Tolkien community all over the world.

"We've had people from Japan, Canada and I've even had emails from Australia from people who want to visit."

The charity also hopes to develop the land around the tower into a cinema and gallery space.

Perrott's Folly is near to where JRR Tolkien lived as a child.

Along with the nearby Edgbaston Waterworks it is said to have inspired the two towers in the Lord of the Rings.

The Grade II listed building was built in 1758.

It was once used as a weather observation tower and was part of Birmingham University but has stood empty for more than 30 years.

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