Tolkien Calendar 2022
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Dec 2, 2020
2020/12/2 18:26:47 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
Someone on Facebook made some very pertinent points as well -

  • the house has no real parking (one car, perhaps two), nor do the other houses in the residential neighborhood around it, so street parking is already an issue - certainly the entire street had cars parked on it when I walked by when I was in Oxford.
  • there is no public transport to the area, it is a lengthy walk.
  • the construction has no consideration for handicapped access - are there UK requirements for a public facility to have such?
  • do the neighbors get any legal say on suddenly having their neighborhood changed in this regard? Does the city? Are there applications needed to change the use of the building?

And again - the house has been out of the Tolkien family for over 70 years, and has been modernized internally (and externally) many times - any work to restore the property will be cosmetic and modern recreations, there won't be a single part of the property that "Tolkien touched" or "Tolkien lived here" in that sense.
Dec 2, 2020
2020/12/2 18:33:04 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
Oh, and another thought - I think it extremely unlikely that the Tolkien Estate will bless having the name "Tolkien" used in any official capacity for this endeavor, so the theoretical facility would end up being called the "Julia Golding Centre for Fantastic Studies" or similar, I imagine.
Dec 2, 2020
2020/12/2 18:34:23 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
There are very strict accessibility laws in the UK, substantial structural changes could have to be made to the property to allow public access. Fire regulations would also have to be observed.

I think the neighbours and council may also be unhappy with the suggestion on the web-site of building a 'hobbit' structure in the garden.
Dec 2, 2020
2020/12/2 18:59:59 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
Back in 1992 a group within the Tolkien Society were handing out flyers at the Centenary conference about their aims towards a Tolkien centre. This was done independently and without checking with the Committee; and a stop was put to it when the Estate objected.
Dec 2, 2020
2020/12/2 19:26:05 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia

Urulókë wrote:

Oh, and another thought - I think it extremely unlikely that the Tolkien Estate will bless having the name "Tolkien" used in any official capacity for this endeavor, so the theoretical facility would end up being called the "Julia Golding Centre for Fantastic Studies" or similar, I imagine.

I don't mean to be flippant in asking this, but why don't the Estate just buy it themselves? I could imagine some profits being made on a genuine Tolkien museum owned and operated by the Estate itself, if that's a concern. And, surely they'd rather be the ones in charge of curating such a potentially important site, rather than leaving it to the whims of an unaffiliated group?
Dec 2, 2020
2020/12/2 19:32:50 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia

Caudimordax wrote:

I don't mean to be flippant in asking this, but why don't the Estate just buy it themselves? I could imagine some profits being made on a genuine Tolkien museum owned and operated by the Estate itself, if that's a concern. And, surely they'd rather be the ones in charge of curating such a potentially important site, rather than leaving it to the whims of an unaffiliated group?

I have no inside knowledge, but observation shows that they have had many opportunities to do a project like this and have never done so (see garm's post above yours, in that they have actively disapproved of others doing so as well).

Also, I think my point earlier stands - you can do a whole lot more to further charitable/educational causes with £4.5M than buying an old building that is very ill-suited to any educational use.
Dec 2, 2020
2020/12/2 19:51:20 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
the project is registered as a charity. Here's a link.

https://register-of-charities.charityc ... 171442/governing-document
Dec 2, 2020 (edited)
2020/12/2 20:10:52 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
Also, I think it worth noting that the governing document, in their own words, makes no actual mention of using the house itself as an educational centre, just that they want to buy the house and preserve it, and also to advance knowledge, appreciation and education. Sure they can do it in the house of course (but turning the house into an educational centre for seminars and with Hobbit structures in the garden seems to be counter to "preserving" it) but they don't have to, by their own governance as stated.

THE OBJECTS FOR WHICH PROJECT NORTHMOOR LIMITED IS ESTABLISHED FOR THE PUBLIC BENEFIT ARE: 1. TO PRESERVE 20 NORTHMOOR ROAD, OXFORD AS THE FORMER HOME OF JRR TOLKIEN AND WHERE THE HOBBIT AND THE LORD OF THE RINGS WERE WRITTEN; 2. TO ADVANCE THE PUBLIC KNOWLEDGE AND APPRECIATION OF THE LIFE, FAITH AND WORKS OF JRR TOLKIEN AND THE INKLINGS; 3. TO ADVANCE EDUCATION IN THE ARTS AND CRAFTS INCLUDING THE ARTS OF LITERATURE AND LANGUAGE.
Dec 2, 2020 (edited)
2020/12/2 20:16:12 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
Indeed, they could simply buy the house and live in it as a "project office"...

[Not saying they would - pointing out that you need strong governance on how funds are collected and what they are used for to prevent this kind of thing]
Dec 2, 2020 (edited)
2020/12/2 20:42:56 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
Reading about Julia Golding she seems a very decent person, a former diplomat, she has worked with OXFAM, has advised on conflict issues in war-zones and has graduated from both Oxford and Cambridge while managing to have a successful writing career. And being a mum to 3.
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