Express & Star

Over 90,000 people visit JRR Tolkien exhibition in Staffordshire

More than 90,000 people have visited an exhibition examining JRR Tolkien’s time in Staffordshire since it opened – with an organiser now set to tell the story in Germany.

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The Wrath of the Ents, by Ted Nasmith

The Exhibition, which was launched at the Museum of Cannock Chase in March 2016, is led by the Haywood Society, supported by Staffordshire Libraries and Arts, and largely funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Now the Project Leader of the exhibition has been invited to speak on the subject at a Tolkien Exhibition to mark International Museum Day in Germany.

David Robbie will be the speaker at Otzberg Castle, Odenwald, on May 20/

He said: “I have been surprised but delighted by the local response to the exhibition and am now very pleased to take the story abroad by speaking about it in Germany.

"Tolkien is an international figure and his followers are always keen to learn anything new about his life.

"The exhibition has opened a new window on what was, until now, a little-known period of the great author’s life and I am proud to be able to tell the Staffordshire story to a new audience.”

The contact arose from a visit by Jens Goetz from Darmstadt to the Exhibition when it was at Penkridge Library last year.

Having heard David’s presentation, Jens issued an invitation to him to address the Tolkien gathering at Otzberg Castle.

Jens has since returned to Staffordshire and been treated to a guided tour of Tolkien-related Great War locations in Staffordshire, including Cannock Chase, Gipsy Green and Great Haywood , and intends to return to visit other locations such as Whittington and Lichfield in the future.

The ‘Tolkien in Staffordshire’ Project has not only contributed to the commemoration of the Great War but also added to the knowledge of Tolkien’s life and to a better understanding of the influence of his experiences here during the Great War and of the Staffordshire landscape on his writings.

Gill Heath, libraries chief at Staffordshire County Council said it was great news that David was taking the story over to Germany.

Gill said: “We all feel very proud in Staffordshire of our connection to the world famous author of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Ring.

"I am deeply impressed by the research and hard work that has gone into the touring exhibition, which highlights the influence of experiences in Staffordshire on his early developing mythology of Middle-earth.

"I am also delighted that David has been invited to speak to German Tolkien scholars about the significance of Tolkien’s time in Staffordshire.

"This really shows the appeal of this excellent exhibition, not only within Staffordshire, where it has been seen by over 90,000 people, but also internationally.”