A Tolkien Museum and Study Centre? By Ted Nasmith
One of the most significant driver’s of Tolkien’s staggeringly rich imaginative outpouring of invented myth and stories was a recognition of the tragic paucity of folkloric material left over from Britain’s Anglo-Saxon and earlier history, suppressed and destroyed wantonly by the incoming Norman invaders of the time. He felt that in creating his elaborate, linguistically inspired pre-history that he was helping mitigate this terrible loss, and it showed his extraordinary love of England in a way few can be said to match. Surely a man as devoted to his nation as this, as singularly important to the national identity, deserves to have as many of the actual places he visited preserved as possible.
After all, this is also a man who, in the appalling crucible of the Great War, accepted the need to put his very life on the line for his country in her hour of Darkness, regardless that had he not survived, none of us would ever had heard of him or had our lives so deeply enriched! The war itself gave much impetus to his later literary output, such that even out of this far more personal tragedy and loss (as against the aforementioned loss of specifically English folklore), his prose and poetry ultimately gained far greater poignancy and resonance.
Perhaps the loss of The Three Cups Hotel is not something truly significant in the greater scheme of things, but on the other hand, it is the loss, or at least unavailability of such actual landmarks of his life, that deny those who recognize the contribution of such literary geniuses access to Places in which to remember them, and thus the context of their times. Indifference to such historical graces must always be resisted! Tolkien loved the Sea in particular, so The Three Cups would be a fitting place to memorialize him for that reason alone. But if it were to be restored and include, if not feature, a memorial of some kind to him, it would not only provide that, but have the added benefit of boosting the local economy, since Tolkien has indisputably become a worldwide phenomenon. Dare I suggest that a facility like The Three Cups could even become the location—long overdue---of a Museum and Study Centre for Tolkien? Currently, there is no one general facility to which collections of valuable Tolkien memorabilia and art might be donated, sadly.
It remains to be seen therefore whether this significant opportunity may be seized on or not by one or more visionary benefactors.