A Campaign to Preserve J.R.R. Tolkien’s Oxford Home Is Being Led by Sir Ian McKellen
Fans of Lord of the Rings may no longer have to travel all the way to Middle-earth (that is, New Zealand) to pay homage to J.R.R. Tolkien if a celebrity-led nonprofit group gets its way, The New York Times reports. “Project Northmoor” launched a campaign on December 2 to raise at least the $5.4 million necessary to purchase the Oxford, England, home in which the author resided with his family while writing The Hobbit and the bulk of the LOTR trilogy between 1930 and 1947.
Funds raised beyond the purchase price would allow the group to restore the house and garden to all of its former glory and begin to host residential courses there, establish a program to fund low-income Tolkien fans’ pilgrimages to the home, and, if the total goal of $6.45 million is reached, add a hobbit house and other LOTR accoutrements to the property. The group’s overarching aim is to create “not a dry museum, but a homely house of continuing creativity, inspiring new generations of writers, artists, and filmmakers,” according to its website.
Project Northmoor’s “Fellowship of Funders” is led by Sir Ian McKellen, who played Gandalf in the Lord of the Rings films. Other famous faces rallying around the fundraising effort include McKellen’s costars Martin Freeman and John Rhys-Davies, and singer Annie Lennox, in addition to several scholars, authors, and other Tolkien obsessives.
The home, located at 20 Northmoor Road in Oxford, went on the market last year, per the NYT, but the listing was recently withdrawn to accommodate Project Northmoor’s three-month effort. The six-bed, four-bath house was built in 1924 and boasts a sizable backyard in which Tolkien planted several trees, a few of which still stand—and which could be the future home of an elven treehouse “flet” if the group reaches its maximum fundraising goal.