Two brick-built buildings meet to from a corner of a brick-paved courtyard.


Walk in the footsteps of one of the most famous authors of all time and discover the inspiration behind the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings trilogy. JRR Tolkien grew up across the road from Sarehole Mill and in later life he would draw on its rural surroundings to create Middle-earth.

There are also connections with another Birmingham son. Matthew Boulton, manufacturer and business partner of engineer James Watt, leased the building between 1756 and 1761 and used it as a ‘flatting mill’ to producing sheet metal to make buttons.

A Spark That Fires the Engine

A Spark That Fires the Engine is a poem by Birmingham poet Casey Bailey about how J.R.R. Tolkien's childhood memories of Sarehole provided the inspiration or "spark" of creativity that produced his wonderful stories of Middle-earth in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.

Casey Bailey is an award winning writer, performer and educator, born and raised in Nechells, Birmingham, UK. Casey was the Birmingham Poet Laureate 2020 - 2022.

Read more in the A Spark That Fires the Engine story.

Address: Sarehole Mill, Cole Bank Road, Birmingham, B13 0BD.