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Old 11-05-2006, 11:46 AM   #1
Lalwendë
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Tolkien Seaside Tolkien Home For Sale

Yours, for just Ł1m. I vote for sending Mithalwen down the road to check it out. She could easily pose as a prospective buyer.
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Old 11-05-2006, 04:41 PM   #2
the guy who be short
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I wonder if the current owner changed anything... could we go back in time to Tolkien?
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Old 11-05-2006, 04:45 PM   #3
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Maybe the Downs should take up a collection and make a bid. One million seems a bit steep though, for a Barrow-Downs holiday home.
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Old 11-05-2006, 05:12 PM   #4
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The horror, the horror of retirement

a suburban bungalow? and modern and in some kind of mass-build sub-division?
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Old 11-05-2006, 05:27 PM   #5
Lalwendë
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Originally Posted by the guy who be short
I wonder if the current owner changed anything... could we go back in time to Tolkien?
Well they've had UPVC windows put in and I strongly suspect that Tolkien would not have approved of those, even if they had such a thing back then! But the estate agent blurb states that the sale includes a fireplace that Tolkien had had installed. It's a shame there are no pictures, which is why I suggest some subterfuge and a mission to investigate...

Bb - I don't think it will be a 'mass-build' type neighbourhood in that particular area, or at least the residents would not like to think so; they'd probably like to think of it as 'exclusive' rather than suburban, which has unpleasantly lower middle-class connotations.

Might be worth a nosey on Google Earth though...

The last Tolkien house up for sale, 22 Northmoor Road (which is very suburban) went for a whopping sum too, and when I was there in September I was surprised to see the owner, a man in his late 50s/early 60s, pottering about washing an M Reg Golf rather than a Porsche - might have been a real Tolkien fan who broke the bank to live there? Incidentally, at Northmoor Road they still have the trellis put up by Tolkien in the 30s, which was amazing to see.
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Old 11-05-2006, 08:44 PM   #6
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I think we should buy it as a club-house. . .a place where members could hang out whenever they needed to read Tolkien, talk Tolkien or just enjoy each others company, but wait! What would we need The Barrow-Downs for then ?

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Old 11-06-2006, 11:30 AM   #7
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It is a fabulous location - backs on to a mini Rivendell and in a very exclusive area ..I have pics in my camera .... when I wen to Branksome Chine in the summer ... but it doe sit in the most expensive part of a generally expensive area - and is probably the cheapest house on the street..
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Old 11-07-2006, 02:25 AM   #8
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Was it always this expensive? I'm curious because in the new Companion & Guide it mentions that Tolkien and Edith had to give up 22 Northmoor Road after most of the children had grown due to being unable to afford the expense. They then moved to a much smaller house on Holywell Street in the city centre (effectively a terraced house, albeit one with part of the medieval city walls as part of the garden wall). Later he lived at Headington, but again not in a big house - at this time he'd had to remove his enormous library from Merton College after retirement and he struggled to find storage for it, which is why he converted the garage, but all the same large numbers of his books had to be given up. I wonder just how much of his Rings income he spent on his retirement home? He strikes me as having been a very prudent man, through necessity.
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Old 11-07-2006, 10:44 PM   #9
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Well, in 1947 JRRT was just scraping by (Oxford officially permitted dons to marry by then, but they certainly didn't raise their pay to cover it!) OTOH, by the time of Tolkien's flight to Bournemouth, Rings money had made him quite well-to-do.
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Old 11-08-2006, 04:21 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lalwendë
at this time he'd had to remove his enormous library from Merton College after retirement and he struggled to find storage for it, which is why he converted the garage, but all the same large numbers of his books had to be given up.
Now there might be something fascinating. A catalogue of all of Tolkien's books, first of all. And then, slogging through sales records and old book stores, tracking them down--or as many as can be found.

People always leave old notes, scribbles in books. Maybe mostly junk, but it might be interesting to see if by accident anything interesting was squirreled away in his books.

The other matter might be to see if he had the habbit of writing comments and notes in the margins. It's often regarded as a terrible habbit, but perhaps he, like Coleridge, succumbed to it. Lamb once loaned his folio edition of Shakespeare to Coleridge, with the strick stipulation that he not mark it up. I gather it came back full of marginalia and jam splotches. Worth twice the amount now, for Coleridge's asides.

Now that might be worth a trip to Oxford and treks around all the used book stores, although I'm sure that the entrepreneurial book buyers would already have sniffed out the old stores.
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Old 11-08-2006, 01:38 PM   #11
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And that would certainly be a mighty tome if all the tales of his vast library are correct!

I know someone who has quite a few books once owed by Tolkien, not to mention a lot that were owned by other members of the family. The trick is to look inside unassuming looking books and there will be inscriptions. I believe most end up in either antiquarian bookstores (such as Ulysses in London) or at book fairs, sometimes even in book dealers around Oxford. They aren't that hard to find, though the collectors always know where to head and snap 'em up fast!
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Old 11-08-2006, 02:42 PM   #12
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Sorry I would have replied sooner but this links into something that I have been thinking about since I finally bought the letters at Oxonmoot and I needed to look one up. BTW Lal, I would never have the nerve to be timewaster.. even if I could pull off the eccentric millionaire with bad back facade (how else to explain driving an ancient Fiat and wanting to buy a bungalow at my relatively tender age?).

Letter 279 was written at the end of 1965 to Grandson Michael, and discusses his financial situation and states that flats and bungalows in sight of the sea were selling for thousands even up to Ł15,000+ . The average house price then was Ł4,000 now it is Ł190,000....

However the Tolkiens' bungalow, ugly as it is, is not average and wouldn't have been then. I would think that where it is was then, is it is now, in the most expensive area to have a seaside home since it is just up the road from Sandbanks ( for Americans I imagine the equivalent would be the Hamptons, or Boca Raton?) . I imagine they would have had to pay the best part of that Ł15K

As a comparison my parents bought their house, an older chalet bungalow, for about Ł5,000 in 1968. Now it is of comparable size overall, maybe on a larger plot, as close to the sea, and in a good but far less exclusive and expensive area (though with more amenities closer) a few miles along the coast. It is still worth about a third of the Lakeside Road property.

So the Tolkiens' could have got the sea views and a comparable house for literally a fraction of the price, so I wonder why they didn't. While their house has a lovely setting it is not a practical location for frail and elderly non drivers. There is no corner shop or post office, Westbourne is a mile and a half uphill and it is the other side of town from their beloved Miramar. Everywhere would be a taxi ride.

I also discovered that Tolkien's surviving schoolfriend Christopher Wiseman retired to the next village to us, Milford on Sea. This is a delightful village with even now a good range of proper shops, small hospital, a catholic church, and the journey to the Miramar would be only 15-20 minutes longer .

The advantages of the Bournemouth location, apart from slightly quicker access to main transport links and medical facilities, is the anonymity. A famous author would be far more conspicuous in the villages and privacy seems to have been a major concern. In an exclusive area where everyone is rich and generally has made their own money, they would have been much more able to keep a lower profile. And there would be less of the snobbery that was (and to a lesser extent still is) a feature of the Lymington area (cough*Argos*cough) .

Finally there may well have been tax advantages of putting as much money as possible into their home.

PS Another letter is an enquiry from someone who picked up one of his old book in a Salibury bookshop...
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Old 11-23-2006, 11:49 AM   #13
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Tolkien

Well after saying how you can get books owned by Tolkien or his family, it's come true. davem was after a set of Gibbons' The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire after enjoying the easily available abridged version; he was looking at a full set of paperbacks in Blackwell's in Oxford but didn't buy them. We since found out that a dealer had a set which came from Michael Tolkien's library, and he's bought them. They are a lovely set of books, and they will not just be put on a shelf but will be read and enjoyed. They were actually bought by Tolkien himself and given as a birthday gift to his son - they have bookplates in each volume.

I find it a bit weird to hold books that had been bought by Tolkien, books he'd chosen and handled. Looking at the bookplates it struck me how Tolkien was not just a mythic name, a personality to be dissected, he was as real a person as I am. He'd also leafed through the very same pages...Kind of a spooky sensation...

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Old 11-23-2006, 05:03 PM   #14
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I don't suppose Michael or even Tolkien pere was the sort to leave pencilled marginalia? Now wouldn't that be fun to find!

Tell davem I'm glad he got the books he wanted. Were there any other of Michael's books which he choose not to buy?

Once upon a time I lived near the shore of this side of the Atlantic. I recall summers spent almost constantly in fog, with no bird song but the constant drone of the foghorns. This English fascination for the sea is a bit beyond me--all that lapping, sloshing sea like nausea in the stomach. Give me a forest or mountain any day or even a river.

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hewer of wood, drawer of water
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Old 12-22-2006, 02:00 AM   #15
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More craziness....

Is there anyone out there who found the 1 million pound price tag on this seaside house a bit high, but are still searching for an alternative? For a mere fraction of the cost, you could add this fireplace to your holiday list:

Quote:

J. R. R. Tolkien Memorabilia
~ Original Tolkien Fireplace ~

John Ronald Reuel Tolkien (1892–1973).

This original tiled fireplace surround from the former Master Bedroom of J. R. R. Tolkien's home at: 76 Sandfield Road, Headington, Oxford, UK is for sale.


Books published whilst J. R. R. Tolkien lived here include:
'The Fellowship of the Ring' (1954), 'The Two Towers' (1954), and 'The Return of the King' (1955).

Wow! This beautiful, original, fireplace surround is a one off that can never be repeated.
It can only be copied!
What would you give to have this original in your lounge, where it would rightly fascinate your friends?


Price: $250,000
For a picture, see this C.S. Lewis website.

Wonder what JRRT would have thought of paying a quarter of a million for the honor of owning his fireplace? Some of that money would surely have helped when he was strapped doing extra tutoring and exams in order to pay the medical bills instead of having time to write. The little ironies of life...
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Old 12-22-2006, 06:19 AM   #16
Lalwendë
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If anyone buys that at that outrageous price then they ought to go and get some therapy. An old tiled fireplace whether its from Tolkien's house or not is not worth that amount of money! The amusing thing is, the 'master' bedroom, meaning the largest, is at the front of the house, while Tolkien will have likely not used that room as a bedroom anyway, as Sandfield Road was extremely noisy during his time there. He complained at one point that some of his neighbours were practising as a 'beat group' and making a lot of noise.
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