Project Northmoor: A Red Light Over Tolkien’s House

The internet is currently buzzing with stories about Project Northmoor: the plan to buy J.R.R. Tolkien’s old house in Oxford, with the aim of turning it into a Centre:

https://thewertzone.blogspot.com/2020/12/middle-earth-fans-raising-funds-to-buy.html

As interesting as this is, there are some significant flies in the ointment. Before anyone considers donating, I would strongly recommend reading the discussion here:

https://www.tolkienguide.com/modules/newbb/viewtopic.php?topic_id=3893

Essentially, the objections are as follows:

  • The Tolkien Estate is not involved.
  • The Northmoor property does not need saving. There are no plans to demolish it, and indeed it is a Grade II Listed Property, which means any alterations need external regulatory consent – https://www.hiscox.co.uk/home-insurance/cover-stories/grade-ii-listed-building-regulations/
  • The proposal would not create a publicly accessible Tolkien Museum, but rather a vaguely-defined cultural space for seminars and creative writing retreats. The connection with Tolkien is not clear, beyond using his old house.
  • The donations will not be refunded if the property is not bought.
  • As per the discussion, there seems to be some issue with donations from the USA not necessarily going towards the property purchase.
  • Building a hobbit house in the garden, a flet in the tree, and a ‘Smaug’s Lair’ makes it sound like Disneyland.

Putting all of this together… I am sceptical about this project, especially when one considers that many people are facing significant pandemic-related hardship. There are better ways of spending millions in 2020.

Addendum: As of 8th December, the Tolkien Society itself has weighed in, making an excellent critique of Project Northmoor along the way: https://www.tolkiensociety.org/2020/12/statement-on-project-northmoor/

One thought on “Project Northmoor: A Red Light Over Tolkien’s House

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: