Tolkien’s love of Bournemouth: 50th anniversary

An advertisement for the Miramar when the Tolkiens were guests

Saturday 2 September will be the 50th anniversary of JRR Tolkien’s death in Bournemouth where he loved the coast.

The author of author of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings and his wife Edith were closely associated with the Hotel Miramar on the East Cliff.

The hotel with its sea view and sweeping lawn was built as a holiday home for the Austro-Hungarian ambassador but with the outbreak of the First World War in 1914 the diplomat left without paying for the property.

The Tolkiens took holidays there from the 1950s. He had room 37 to himself, as he worked so much, whilst his wife Edith stayed in 39 where she enjoyed tea on the balcony. The climate was considered good for her arthritis.

In 1968 the the couple suddenly bought a bungalow (now demolished) in Branksome Chine.

Following his wife’s death in a Bournemouth nursing home in 1971 he returned to his old home city of Oxford. He came back in August 1973 to stay with friends but was taken hospital with pneumonia where he died in early September.

There will be a Requiem Mass for JRR Tolkien at the Sacred Heart Church on Richmond Hill, where the couple worshipped on Sundays, 12.15pm on the anniversary day.

There is a blue plaque in the Hotel Miramar porch.

Royal Mint’s £2 Tolkien anniversary coin

About Leigh Hatts

Leigh Hatts is an experienced walker and has known the local coastline since childhood. He is the author of many successful walking guides.
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