Welcome to another Ladywood related post. This time looking at The Two Towers that inspired J.R.R. Tolkien in The Lord of the Rings Trilogy. Perrott's Folly and the Edgbaston Waterworks Tower. Both are located on Waterworks Road in Ladywood, Birmingham. And are close to Edgbaston Reservoir. In the area that used to be called Rotton Park. Edgbaston Waterworks is managed by Severn Trent.

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J.R.R. Tolkien's The Two Towers: Perrott's Folly and the Edgbaston Waterworks Tower





Welcome to another Ladywood related post. This time looking at The Two Towers that inspired J.R.R. Tolkien in The Lord of the Rings Trilogy. Perrott's Folly and the Edgbaston Waterworks Tower. Both are located on Waterworks Road in Ladywood, Birmingham. And are close to Edgbaston Reservoir. In the area that used to be called Rotton Park. Edgbaston Waterworks is managed by Severn Trent.


Previous Tolkien posts here:

The Two Towers

Lets take a walk down Waterworks Road in Ladywood. If you leave Hagley Road, head up Plough & Harrow Road. Cross over Monument Road and you will get to Waterworks Road. One way to get back to Ladywood Middleway from Waterworks Road is via Harold Road and Noel Road, where there is some more views of the towers.

The first tower on your right will be Perrott's Folly. If you walk further down the road, you will get to the Edgbaston Waterworks Tower (which is within a Severn Trent faciliity so you can only see it from the road). If you are on Reservoir Road nearby, you might be able to spot the towers down the side roads, and it is even possible to see at least one of the towers from Edgbaston Reservoir. Further out in the City, there is views of The Two Towers from the top of Brindleyplace Car Park. Both of these towers (it has been suggested) may have inspired J.R.R. Tolkien for his book The Two Towers (the middle installment of the famous The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, later adapted into a movie trilogy by Peter Jackson, of which The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers was released in 2002).

 

Side by side comparison of The Two Towers from my original photos taken during June 2011. For the gallery of these, have a look further down the post.

In July 2013, the models of The Two Towers was in Centenary Square, around 2 months before the Library of Birmingham was opened. With a backdrop of the Hyatt Hotel and Symphony Hall.

Model of The Two Towers seen at Sarehole Mill during August 2015. They were moved here and is now their more permenant home (due to the Tolkien links).

View (below) of The Two Towers as seen from the car park behind the Birmingham Oratory during September 2019. Clearly Perrott's Folly (to the right) is taller than the Edgbaston Waterworks Tower (to the left).

In a June 2020 walk around Edgbaston Reservoir (below) I was able to get The Two Towers in one picture. But here, Perrott's Folly (on the left) looked shorter than the Edgbaston Waterworks Tower (on the right). Must be the different perspective.

Went back to Waterworks Road on the last day of July 2020 during a heatwave. Got this view of The Two Towers. Then also one from Noel Road around the corner off Harold Road.

 

Perrott's Folly

Located on Waterworks Road in Ladywood not far from Monument Road. Perrott's Folly was also known as The Monument or The Observatory. It was built in what was then Rotton Park by John Perrott in 1758. The land at the time was open countryside. He built it either to view his wife's grave from afar or to entertain guests or survery his land. He actually lived in Belbroughton. The tower was used from 1884 until 1979 as a weather recording station for the Birmingham & Midland Institute. The Perrott's Folly Company was formed in 1984 to restore the tower and open it to the public. But the company eventually closed in 2009. There was periods in the late 2000s when they opened it to the public. It is a Grade II* listed building. Built of red brick. Octagonal on a square base with a round stair turret. It was listed in 1952, and the listing was last amended in 1982.

 

My earliest series of photos of Perrott's Folly was taken back in June 2011 from Waterworks Road, which you can see below.

In July 2013, you could see the model of Perrott's Folly in the garden outside of The Library of Birmingham in Centenary Square (around 2 months before it opened to the public). But the area was fenced off until the end of August 2013.

The model of Perrott's Folly (seen below) at Sarehole Mill during August 2015. Was moved to it's now permenant home.

View of Perrott's Folly (below) seen during April 2018 from the top of Brindleyplace Car Park.

The view taken during February 2020 (below) of Perrott's Folly as seen from Reservoir Road (leaving Edgbaston Reservoir). Could see it over the chimneys up Reservoir Retreat.

On the last day of July 2020 I travelled to Ladywood, and while there headed down Waterworks Road from Plough & Harrow Road for a blue sky update!

 

Edgbaston Waterworks Tower

The Edgbaston Waterworks is located at the bottom end of Waterworks Road in Ladywood. It was also called the Edgbaston Pumping Station.  The buildings were designed by John Henry Chamberlain and William Martin during 1870. The buildings are Grade II listed. The site is run by Severn Trent Water. While it is close to Edgbaston Reservoir, there is no current or historical connection to the water here. The listing includes, the Edgbaston Pumping Station, store room, generator room and the ornamented chimney stack. The water pumping station apparently dates to about 1862. The tower was built of red brick with blue brick details. You can see how the tower influenced Tolkien for The Two Towers. Especially in the details at the top. First listed in 1979, the listing was amended in 2015.

 

My earliest series of photos of the Edgbaston Waterworks Tower was taken during June 2011 from Waterworks Road, which you can see below.

In July 2013, there was a model of the Edgbaston Waterworks Tower in Centenary Square, in the garden in front of the Library of Birmingham (two months before it would open to the public).

By August 2015, the model of the Edgbaston Waterworks Tower was now at it's now permenant home of Sarehole Mill (due to it's link with Tolkien).

There was a view (below) from the top of the Brindleyplace Car Park on my visit during April 2018 of the Edgbaston Waterworks Tower.

During February 2020, after leaving Edgbaston Reservoir via Reservoir Road (seen below), I spotted the Edgbaston Waterworks Tower down Mostyn Road over the chimneys.

I saw the Edgbaston Waterworks Tower from my June 2020 walk around Edgbaston Reservoir (below). I was hoping to get an individual photo of Perrott's Folly, but only got the pair of them together earlier on (see the photo further up this post). You can see how it inspired Tolkien in it's design.

Also got some last day of July 2020 photo updates of the Edgbaston Waterworks Tower. I noticed that one of the window shutters on the left hand side was damaged, and is in need of a repair. Also visible from Noel Road in Ladywood.

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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