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Hull University, East Yorkshire: Where JRR Tolkien Convalesced

Could Lord of the Rings be inspired by Tolkien’s wartime stay in Yorkshire?

World War One firmly links Hull and East Yorkshire to the inspiration behind the work of a world renowned and iconic literary great; JRR Tolkien. Today, the Dennison Centre, an office for international students at the University of Hull, was a private residence in 1914, donated to the Red Cross to become Brooklands Military Hospital.

One of the soldiers who were treated here was later to become a world famous writer. Tolkien spent 18 months between 1917 and 1918 on the mend from trench fever (a disease transmitted by lice) posted at the camp of Thirtle Bridge near Roos. It was during this time, on two occasions, that he recuperated at Brooklands Military hospital, spending his Christmas there in 1917.

The diaries of Matron Margaret Strickland-Constable, found at the Treasure House in Beverley, reveal moments when recovering officers sitting in the rear garden heard bombs dropping in the distance giving a sense of danger felt by staff and officers. Eventually new patients to the area were admitted elsewhere as the hospital was deemed to be in ‘the danger zone’ of the Zeppelins.

Location: Dennison Centre, University of Hull, Cottingham Road, Hull, East Riding of Yorkshire HU5 2EG
Image of JRR Tolkien in 1916, aged 24-years-old

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