The longtime home of the author J.R.R. Tolkien is about to re-enter the market and a crowdfunding campaign has been launched in the hope that Lord of the Rings and Hobbit fans will initiate an initiative to buy, restore and convert the property into a Tolkien Museum will support.
The Northmoor Project, as the group work is called, launched a three-month campaign on Wednesday to raise at least $ 5.3 million for the purchase of the house at 20 Northmoor Road on the outskirts of Oxford, England. Tolkien lived there from 1930 to 1947 with his wife Edith and their four children and wrote "The Hobbit" and much of the fantasy trilogy "Lord of the Rings".
The non-profit group wants to set up a literary center in the house dedicated to the Tolkien studies. "The global Tolkien following is huge, but there is no Tolkien center anywhere in the world," said Julia Golding, the British writer leading the purchase. "There are centers for Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, and Thomas Hardy, and Tolkien is arguably as influential as them."
Behind the initiative are numerous celebrities who helped create a video, including singer Annie Lennox, Shakespearean actor Sir Derek Jacobi, and actors Ian McKellen, John Rhys-Davies and Martin Freeman who appeared in Tolkien films – McKellen as Gandalf, Rhys -Davies as Gimli and Freeman as Bilbo Baggins.
The residence hit the market last year for the first time in more than two decades for nearly $ 6 million, or around £ 4.7 million. The offer price was lowered to approximately $ 5.3 million before the Breckon & Breckon listing was recently withdrawn to give the group time to organize the financing.
The current owners bought the house in 2004 for £ 1.6 million. In the same year, it was designated a Grade I listed building as Tolkien had lived there, which meant that it was "of particular interest and justified every effort to preserve it". It may not have been readily sold due to government restrictions on changes. "If you were a regular buyer, you'd like to add frills," Ms. Golding said, noting that many recently purchased homes in the area she lives in have been heavily renovated.
The two-story building, about 60 miles northwest of London, was built in 1924 for Basil Blackwell, a well-known Oxford bookseller. According to the floor plans, it has approximately 300 square feet of interior space with six bedrooms and four bathrooms on the upper level, plus a 28 by 15 foot parlor on the ground floor, where Tolkien did much of his writing and was meeting with his students from the nearby Oxford University. The exterior includes a large back garden with some of the trees Tolkien planted and the original 16 by 11 foot garage.
Many of the home's original architectural features have been retained, including wooden floors, high ceilings, and wood-burning fireplaces. There is an old bell system in the kitchen that was used to communicate with the rest of the house.
"It has the feel of a 1920s house," said Ms. Golding. "It's very comfortable inside. It doesn't feel like a professorial house."
The group's funding goal is approximately $ 6 million, of which $ 5.3 million will be used for the home. The remainder will be used for approved renovations, charity startup costs, and literary program development.
Donors who donate at least $ 25 will receive a special certificate. Additional perks will be added as donation amounts increase.
"If every Tolkien fan gave us $ 2, we could do that," said Ms. Golding.
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