JRR Tolkien house crowdfunding bid backed by actors fails

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JRR Tolkien houseImage source, Breckon & Breckon
Image caption,
The large detached brick property in Oxford was built in the 1920s

A crowdfunding campaign to buy the house where JRR Tolkien once lived has failed.

Project Northmoor was set up to raise £4.5m to purchase the property and turn it into a literary centre dedicated to the Lord of the Rings author.

The bid was backed by Sir Ian McKellen and Martin Freeman, both of whom starred in film adaptations of the writer's work.

The organisers said they would now seek to open a centre elsewhere in Oxford.

In a statement Project Northmoor said: "Sadly, we weren't able to find a route to fund the purchase of the house before the vendor chose another party.

"We are sorry we couldn't get there faster but we gave it our all."

It added: "The story is not at an end."

Image caption,
Sir Ian McKellen and Martin Freeman backed the crowdfunding campaign

Other backers of the project, which reached 17% of its total target, included Annie Lennox, who wrote and performed an Oscar-winning song for The Return of the King, and actors John Rhys-Davies and Sir Derek Jacobi.

But The Tolkien Society did not support the campaign.

It said it was concerned that the centre would not be open to the public, and that the house was already "well protected under the law and not in need of rescue".

Image caption,
JRR Tolkien remains one of the most celebrated fantasy authors of all time
Image source, Breckon & Breckon
Image caption,
The property comes complete with a blue plaque

Tolkien is believed to have written The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings at the property, which was home to the writer and his family from 1930 until 1947.

The six-bedroom house in Northmoor Road, Oxford, is largely unchanged since it was built in 1924.

It was bought by a private buyer in 2004 for more than £1.5m and was given Grade II-listed status shortly afterwards.

Tolkien died in 1973, but the popularity of his works remains undimmed, with Amazon Studios recently announcing a Lord of the Rings television series.

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