Who says that the cult of celebrity is a thing of the past? As Hobbit fever sweeps the cinema-going world someone with far more money than sense has bid £50,000 for JRR Tolkien’s old fireplace.
It is among items salvaged by the boss of the demolition company that pulled down the Lord of the Rings author’s old bungalow in Poole four years ago.
The joke is that Tolkien only lived in the house for three years from his retirement in 1968 until the death of his wife Edith in 1971.
What’s more he didn’t even like the place. A career academic, he would have much rather have stayed in his beloved Oxford.
However the success of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings meant he was constantly bothered by fans beating a path to his door.
The couple finally moved to the south coast to escape unwanted callers. They chose the seaside location partly because of Edith’s failing health butalso because for many years they had spent summer holidays at The Mirimar Hotel in nearby Bournemouth.
By all accounts Tolkien didn’t like it much there either, complaining that it was difficult to find someone to have a stimulating conversation with.