Any lessons for Bath in this story?
It wasn’t the most promising of pitches: when Ben Bradley suggested that a homeless charity buy a derelict, windblown Georgian tower in a poor district of Birmingham he expected, and got, some blank looks.
The building is spectacular but perilous. It sways slightly in strong wind and its seven rooms – one on each storey – are the size of a hearth rug. But, said Bradley: “As it turned out, my CEO is a Tolkien fanatic, and so the deal was done.”
The Trident Reach the People charity paid £1, and became proud owners of one of the oldest and most eccentric structures in Birmingham, a building better known in Japan than it is on the other side of the city.
The eyeball-shaped windows at the top of Perrott’s Folly look down in one direction on where JRR Tolkien lived as a child, and in the opposite direction on the Oratory, where he went to school. It also gives a spectacular view of the other tower he passed twice a day, the gothic ornamented chimney of the Edgbaston waterworks, which in the writer’s day would have belched smoke from the steam engines. To Tolkien true believers, there is no point looking further for the origins of the two sinister towers that loom over the world of his Lord of the Rings.