Trident Reach the People to refurbish famous Birmingham tower

Trident Reach the People to refurbish famous Birmingham tower

A famous Birmingham tower thought to have inspired author J R R Tolkein in his epic The Lord of the Rings trilogy has been bought by a homeless charity for £1.

Known most commonly as Perrott’s Folly, the tower was built in 1758 by local resident and eccentric, John Perrott. It stands at 96 feet tall with a total of 139 narrow, winding steps.

Tolkein is understood to have lived close by as a child and drew inspiration from the lone tower and its unusual design along with the tower at Edgbaston Waterworks down the road in his later writings.

Perrott’s Folly has had numerous uses over the years, including its service as a weather observatory for the Birmingham and Midland Institute and the University of Birmingham until the late 1960s.

Currently, the tower exists in a derelict state as is generally closed to the public. It is considered one of Birmingham’s oldest architectural structures and is Grade II listed that can also be found on the UKs ‘Buildings at Risk’ register due to structural cracks.

Trident Reach the People which offers support to vulnerable people across the city has begun a fundraising scheme to generate £1 million for the tower’s complete refurbishment.

Benjamin Bradley, of the charity said, “Perrott’s Folly is an awe-inspiring structure which towers over the nearby suburbs.

“It is steeped in history and, as a model for the Twin Towers, is believed to be a key inspiration behind The Lord of the Rings – one of the best-loved stories of all time and a fantasy which has gripped the imagination of millions of people worldwide.

“Such an impressive landmark should be brought back into use for the community to safeguard its future and to allow the public – including Lord of the Rings fans – to enjoy it for many years to come.”

Once refurbished, the tower will be opened to the public as a heritage attraction, drawing in commerce and tourism for the local community and surroundings.

Design artist Lizzy Jordan is hopeful that the refurbishment will also lead to other local projects that raise awareness for derelict heritage sites that, like Perrott’s Folly, are steeped in a rich history.

Trident Reach the People which operates across Birmingham and the Midlands was founded in 2009 as part of the Trident Housing Association.

The charity has been working with people from numerous backgrounds over the last 5 years who are unable to support themselves. These include the disabled, mentally ill, elderly, domestic violence victims, teenage parents, young offenders, homeless and refugees.

The charity offers housing advice and tenancy support and encourages personal independence and community integration.

More information of fundraising projects or how you can donate to the tower’s restoration can be found here.

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