Monday, 4 May 2009

Perrott's Folly

Perrott's Folly is an extraordinary thing -- a 94-foot sheer-sided tower built in the late eighteenth century. It stands in one of the poorest parts of Birmingham. A little way away from the folly stands a second tower -- actually part of the nearby waterworks and reservoir.

Perrott's Folly was built by a wealthy landowner, apparently for use as a hunting lodge -- a retreat for him and his friends. It is extraordinarily easy to imagine its decaying interior lit by flickering candles and each of its five circular rooms warmed by a small struggling wood fire.

It was recently open to the public, showing Sofia Hultén's art installation, DRAWN ONWARD.

Just a little way from Perrott's is Stirling Road where JRR Tolkein lived as a young boy. Perrott's Folly and the waterworks tower are said to be the inspiration for the second part of LORD OF THE RINGS -- "The Two Towers".

Reclaiming St George?

There has been talk in recent months -- both by politicians and media -- that a new shared sense of 'Britishness' is needed and that reclaiming St George's Day as national celebration might help in this.

Is this what lies behind Birmingham's decison to hold an official St George's Day celebration just a couple of weekends back? I'm not sure, but there was one, and here are some scenes that caught my eye...