John Ronald Reuel TOLKIEN (1892–1973)
Author and scholar
20 Northmoor Road, Oxford
John Ronald Reuel Tolkien was born in South Africa, the son of a bank manager of German origin, but educated at King Edward VI’s School, Birmingham and Exeter College, Oxford. He returned to Oxford after service in the First World War, during which he wrote his first stories. He worked on the Oxford English Dictionary before starting his career as a Reader at the University of Leeds. In 1925 he was appointed Rawlinson and Bosworth Professor of Anglo-Saxon at Oxford; from 1945 until his retirement in 1959 he held the Merton Chair of English.
The Hobbit was published in 1937 and The Lord of the Rings in 1954–5. His original drawings for The Hobbit are held in the Bodleian Library. He was a member of the literary circle known as The Inklings which included C. S. Lewis and Charles William Sand which met in the Eagle & Child in St Giles.
Tolkien lived with his family at 22 Northmoor Road (1926–30) and at 20 Northmoor Road (1930–47). From 1947 he was at Manor Road, from 1953–68 at Sandfield Road, Headington (where there is a rectangular stone plaque, engraved with a picture, ‘the hill’, and the words ‘J. R. R. Tolkien lived here 1953–1968’). In 1968 the importunities of the numerous admirers of his stories caused him to withdraw to Poole in Dorset. In 1971, on the death of his wife, he returned to Oxford and lived in Merton College of which he was elected an Honorary Fellow.
- Source: Humphrey Carpenter, J. R. R. Tolkien, A Biography (1977)
- Picture: Tolkien’s former home
The plaque was unveiled at 20 Northmoor Road, Oxford on 3 December 2002 by Priscilla Tolkien, his daughter.
Oxfordshire Blue Plaques Board
J. R. R. TOLKIEN
The Lord of the Rings
Oxford Civic Society