Tim Tolkien

Last updated

Tim Tolkien
Sentinel sculpture TimTolkien.jpg
Sentinel near the Jaguar works in Castle Bromwich, formerly the Castle Bromwich Assembly Spitfire factory
BornOctober 1962 (age 60)
Known forSculpture
Notable work Sentinel

Tim Tolkien (born October 1962) is an English sculptor who has designed several monumental sculptures, including the award-winning Sentinel .


He has a metal sculpture and public Art business at Cradley Heath, West Midlands. He is also a bass player and member of the band Klangstorm, founded in 1996.

Early life

Tim is the great-nephew of the writer J. R. R. Tolkien. He was raised in the village of Hughenden Valley and went to the Royal Grammar School, High Wycombe. He graduated with a degree in fine art (sculpture) from the University of Reading in 1984.



Sentinel is Tolkien's most famous work to date. In 1996, he was appointed by CAN [1] who were awarded the contract to develop public art proposals for the estate using National Lottery money, as an artist in residence to help with regeneration of the Castle Vale estate in Birmingham. The following year, he consulted with residents about an art project for the entrance to the estate. They favoured a sculpture featuring Spitfires, reflecting the area's flying history and particularly the Castle Bromwich Assembly which stood nearby. The large steel and aluminium Sentinel Spitfire sculpture was the result, showing three Spitfires peeling off up into the air in different directions. It was unveiled on 14 November 2000, near the former factory which built them, by their former test pilot Alex Henshaw.

Cedric Hardwicke

Tolkien also sculpted a memorial to the actor Sir Cedric Hardwicke, at the latter's birthplace of Lye, West Midlands, for Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council. The memorial takes the form of a giant filmstrip, the illuminated cut metal panels illustrating scenes from some of Sir Cedric's best-known roles, which include The Hunchback of Notre Dame , The Shape of Things to Come , and The Ghost of Frankenstein . It was unveiled in November 2005.


His proposals for a 20-foot (6.1 meter) high statue of Treebeard, an Ent from The Lord of the Rings, to be erected on the Green at Moseley, near J. R. R. Tolkien's childhood home in Birmingham, have met with some controversy, but permission for its erection – originally scheduled for May 2007 – was granted by Birmingham City Council. [2] [3]


(Birmingham unless stated)
DatePicture Coordinates
(With links to map and aerial photo sources)
James Watt's Mad Machine Winson Green Metro station 1998 James Watt's Mad Machine - Winson Green Outer Circle Tram Stop (48800549752).jpg 52°29′50″N1°55′53″W / 52.497216°N 1.931290°W / 52.497216; -1.931290 Supported by Eric Klein Velderman, Paula Woof and local school pupils. [4]
Lanchester Car Monument Nechells1995 Lanchester car sculpture.jpg 52°29′35″N1°52′22″W / 52.4930°N 1.8729°W / 52.4930; -1.8729 On the site of the development of the first British petrol-engined car [5]
Mosaics Menzies High School, Sandwell With Eric Klein Velderman and pupils. [6]
Millennium SculptureSt.Nicholas School, Kenilworth 2001With pupils [7]
Dragonfly sculptureHembrook Infants and Junior school, Warwickshire May 2003With Emma Dicks [8]
GatewayBelle Vue Primary School, Stourbridge [9]
Archway Springhallow School, Ealing With pupils. [10]
Memorial to Sir Cedric Hardwicke Lye, West MidlandsNovember 2005 Sir Cedric Hardwicke sculpture - Dudley Road, Lye (38803701042).jpg 52°27′32″N2°07′04″W / 52.458776°N 2.117764°W / 52.458776; -2.117764
BluebellSot's Hole Local Nature Reserve, West Bromwich2008 Tim Tokien - Sot's Hole Bluebell - 01.jpeg 52°31′38″N1°59′05″W / 52.527268°N 1.984727°W / 52.527268; -1.984727 [11]
GateSot's Hole Local Nature Reserve, West Bromwich2008 Tim Tolkien, Sot's Hole gate - 2013-05-20 - Andy Mabbett - 01.jpg 52°31′38″N1°59′05″W / 52.527202°N 1.984665°W / 52.527202; -1.984665 [11]
Gates RSPB Sandwell Valley RSPB Reserve Gates 1.jpg 52°32′07″N1°56′53″W / 52.535371°N 1.947992°W / 52.535371; -1.947992
Sentinel Castle Bromwich 14 November 2000 Sentinel sculpture TimTolkien 05.jpg 52°30′48″N1°47′53″W / 52.5134°N 1.7981°W / 52.5134; -1.7981
Cardinal Newman statue Cofton Park, Birmingham 2010 [12]
GateHolly Wood Local Nature Reserve, Sandwell 2012 Holly Wood Nature Reserve gate - 02.JPG 52°32′54″N1°55′32″W / 52.548281°N 1.925456°W / 52.548281; -1.925456 [13]
Map all coordinates using: OpenStreetMap  
Download coordinates as: KML

Tolkien also undertook the redesign of Lea Hall railway station, Birmingham, with Eric Klein Velderman; completed in 1998) [14]

Other notable work

He has also worked with the singer and television presenter Toyah Willcox, designing her armour-like stage costumes and, in 2005, making a documentary film for BBC2, comparing New Zealand's successful exploitation of its movie-related J. R. R. Tolkien associations, with that of J.R.R.'s (and Toyah's) home town, Birmingham.

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">J. R. R. Tolkien</span> English philologist and author (1892–1973)

John Ronald Reuel Tolkien was an English writer and philologist. He was the author of the high fantasy works The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Worcestershire</span> County of England

Worcestershire is a county in the West Midlands of England. The area that is now Worcestershire was absorbed into the unified Kingdom of England in 927, at which time it was constituted as a county.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">West Midlands (county)</span> County in England

West Midlands is a metropolitan county in the West Midlands Region, England, with a 2021 population of 2,919,600, making it the second most populous county in England after Greater London. It was created in 1974 by the Local Government Act 1972, from parts of Staffordshire, Worcestershire and Warwickshire. The county is a NUTS 2 region within the wider NUTS 1 region of the same name. It embraces seven metropolitan boroughs: the cities of Birmingham, Coventry and Wolverhampton, and the boroughs of Dudley, Sandwell, Solihull and Walsall. The county is overseen by the West Midlands Combined Authority, which covers all seven boroughs and other non-constituent councils, on economy, transport and housing.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Cedric Hardwicke</span> English actor

Sir Cedric Webster Hardwicke was an English stage and film actor whose career spanned nearly 50 years. His theatre work included notable performances in productions of the plays of Shakespeare and Shaw, and his film work included leading roles in several adapted literary classics.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Moseley</span> Human settlement in England

Moseley is a suburb of south Birmingham, England, three miles south of the city centre. The area is a popular cosmopolitan residential location and leisure destination, with a number of bars and restaurants. The area also has a number of boutiques and other independent retailers.

William James Bloye was an English sculptor, active in Birmingham either side of World War II.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">West Midlands (region)</span> Region of England

The West Midlands is one of nine official regions of England at the first level of International Territorial Level for statistical purposes. It covers the western half of the area traditionally known as the Midlands. The region consists of the counties of Herefordshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Warwickshire, West Midlands and Worcestershire. The region has seven cities; Birmingham, Coventry, Hereford, Lichfield, Stoke-on-Trent, Wolverhampton and Worcester.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Castle Vale</span> Human settlement in England

Castle Vale is a housing estate located between Erdington, Minworth and Castle Bromwich. Currently Castle Vale makes up the Castle Vale Ward of Birmingham City Council which is part of Erdington constituency, 6 miles (9 km) northeast of Birmingham city centre in England. The area has an approximate population of 10,000 people and has a distinctly modern residential character stemming from its history as a postwar overspill estate.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Castle Bromwich</span> Human settlement in England

Castle Bromwich is a village and civil parish in the Metropolitan Borough of Solihull in the West Midlands, England. It borders the rest of the borough to the south east, Sutton Coldfield to the east and north east, Shard End to the south west, Castle Vale, Erdington and Minworth to the north and Hodge Hill to the west.

<i>Sentinel</i> (sculpture)

Sentinel is a 16-metre-high (52 ft) sculpture by Tim Tolkien, installed upon Spitfire Island, a roundabout at the intersection of the Chester Road and the A47 Fort Parkway at the entrance to the Castle Vale estate in Birmingham, England.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Lye, West Midlands</span> Human settlement in England

Lye or The Lye is an area in the Dudley Metropolitan Borough, in the West Midlands county, England, 1.75 miles (2.82 km) east of Stourbridge and borders with Pedmore and Wollescote.

The Tolkien family is an English family of German descent whose best-known member is J. R. R. Tolkien, Oxford academic and author of the fantasy books The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion.

Castle Bromwich Aerodrome was an early airfield, situated to the north of Castle Bromwich in the West Midlands of England. The site now falls within the City of Birmingham.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Lea Hall railway station</span> Railway station in the West Midlands, England

Lea Hall railway station is situated in the Lea Hall area east of the city of Birmingham, in the West Midlands of England. It has two platforms, one each side of the two running lines, with no points or sidings. The ticket office is on a bridge over the tracks, which are a little below street level. The station, and all trains serving it, are operated by West Midlands Trains. Ramps have been added to permit easy disabled access to both platforms.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Solihull</span> Town in West Midlands, England

Solihull is a market town, and seat of the wider Metropolitan Borough of Solihull in the West Midlands County, England. Solihull is situated on the River Blythe in the Forest of Arden area. The town had a population of 126,577 at the 2021 Census, and its wider borough had a population of 216,240

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Birmingham</span> City in West Midlands, England

Birmingham is a city and metropolitan borough in the metropolitan county of West Midlands in England. It is the second-largest city in the United Kingdom with a population of 1.145 million in the city proper, 2.92 million in the West Midlands metropolitan county, and approximately 4.3 million in the wider metropolitan area. It is the largest UK metropolitan area outside of London. Birmingham is known as the second city of the United Kingdom.

John Francis Reuel Tolkien was an English Roman-Catholic priest and the eldest son of J. R. R. Tolkien. He served as a parish priest in Oxford, Coventry, Birmingham, and Stoke-on-Trent. He was also a chaplain at the University College of North Staffordshire and to two schools, as well as a governor of St Joseph's College. During his lifetime and after his death, there were a number of allegations of child sexual abuse against him: he was questioned by the police but never charged or convicted.

Environmentalism in <i>The Lord of the Rings</i> Theme of environmentalism in The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien

The theme of environmentalism in The Lord of the Rings has been remarked upon by critics since the 1970s. The Hobbits' visions of Saruman's industrial hell of Isengard and Sauron's desolate polluted land of Mordor have been interpreted as comments on modern society, while the destruction of Isengard by the tree-giant Ents, and "The Scouring of the Shire" by the Hobbits, have a strong theme of restoration of the natural environment after such industrial pollution and degradation. However, Tolkien's love of trees and unspoilt nature is apparent throughout the novel.


  1. "Collective Art Noise". Archived from the original on 4 November 1999.
  2. "Outrage as Tolkien statue is approved". March 2007.
  3. "Tolkien statue gets the go ahead". 2 March 2007.
  4. Archived 7 October 2006 at the Wayback Machine
  5. "Birmingham Photographs – Lanchester Car Public Art". Bplphoto.co.uk. Archived from the original on 17 July 2012. Retrieved 20 May 2013.
  6. "Menzies High School - News". Archived from the original on 30 October 2004. Retrieved 8 April 2006.
  7. "St. Nick's Sculpture". Archived from the original on 24 March 2012. Retrieved 20 May 2013.
  8. "Arts Contact Warwickshire". Warwickshire.gov.uk. Archived from the original on 30 September 2007. Retrieved 20 May 2013.
  9. "Belle Vue Primary School". Archived from the original on 11 February 2006. Retrieved 8 April 2006.
  10. "Pupils get a spring in their step". Ealing Times. Thisisealing.co.uk. 28 July 2003. Retrieved 20 May 2013.
  11. 1 2 "The Friends of Sot's Hole". The Friends of Sot's Hole. Spring 2008. Archived from the original on 30 June 2012. Retrieved 21 September 2008.
  12. "Tolkien relation sculpts Cardinal Newman statue". BBC News. 10 September 2010.
  13. Philpotts, Chris (26 April 2013). "Whitecrest pupils add the icing on the gate!". Great Barr Observer (1868): 5.
  14. Archived 7 October 2006 at the Wayback Machine