Urban Oases: Perrott’s Folly, Edgbaston

Rearing up amid an otherwise unremarkable suburb are the dark turrets of one of the city’s oldest and oddest architectural features. Its orginal purpose in 1758 is unknown: one theory is that John Perrott wanted to spot animals to hunt; another is that he wished to see his wife’s grave 10 miles away. For nearly a century the tower found a use as a weather recording station, but it and the equally striking Victorian waterworks tower down the road are most famous for inspiring Tolkien’s Two Towers.

This snippet was published as part of The Guardian’s Urban Oases supplement, July 2005

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