A New Campaign Seeks to Preserve J.R.R. Tolkien’s Oxford Home

A number of actors who appeared in The Lord of The Rings and The Hobbit film trilogies have joined forces with author Julia Golding to launch a campaign called Project Northmoor, an effort to purchase J.R.R. Tolkien’s Oxford home and transform it into a literary center.

The house is located at 20 Northmoor Road in Oxford, where Tolkien lived with his family between 1930 and 1947 — a period where he wrote his more famous works. According to the BBC, the house went on sale last year for £4,575,000. The house has been fitted with a blue plaque, which identifies it as a place of historical significance.

The funding campaign seeks to raise £4 million ($6 million USD) to purchase the house and establish a literary center to celebrate the late author’s works. According to the group, there is no such dedicated center dedicated to Tolkien’s life and works. With proper funding, the group wants to renovate the house to what it would have looked like during Tolkien’s ownership, and would renovate the upstairs to “reflect the cultures he invented” while the “garden would be restored to a beauty of which the inventor of Sam Gamgee would be proud.” (via People, Polygon and TheOneRing)

Once established, the center would hold a series of “retreats, writing seminars and other cultural events,” as well as a series of virtual programs.

Supporting the fundraising effort are a number of actors who’ve appeared in adaptations of Tolkien’s works: Sir Ian McKellen (Gandalf the Grey), Annie Lennox (Return of the King soundtrack), Martin Freeman (Bilbo Baggins), John Rhys-Davies (Gimli), and Sir Derek Jacobi (audiobook narrator, and Tolkien).  “This is just an opportunity that can’t be ignored,” Rhys-Davies told People. “If people are still reading in 1,000 years, Tolkien will be regarded as one of the great myth-makers of Britain and it will be evident within a matter of years that not to secure this place would have been such an act of arrogance and ignorance and folly on our part.”

The project is currently taking donations in various amounts, with various rewards. £20 (Hobbit Gift) will get your name in a book of supporters, £200 (Dwarf Gift) will put your name in the book and displayed on a wall. £2000 (Human Gift) will get you an invitation to a supporter’s evening. £20,000 (Elf Gift) gets you a life patron status, which grants free admission to events and other perks. A “Wizard Gift” of £200,000 will get you a room dedication. The project also launched a shop, in which you can buy shirts, phone cases, and mugs.

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