Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
History of the building
The tower is one of Birmingham's oldest architectural features. Built in 1758 by John Perrot , who lived in Belbroughton , the tower still stands high above the local residential and business housing.
Reason for construction
Many stories exist to explain why the tower was built. One is that John Perrot owned a lot of land around the tower and he wanted to be able to survey what he owned and perhaps when entertaining guests use the tower to spot animals that he and his friends would later ride out on horses to hunt.
Another is that he built the tower so that he could see his wife's grave, ten miles away. Though this would have been possible at the time, buildings constructed since have obscured the view.
Use as a weather observatory
During the period from 1884 to 1979 the tower was used as a weather recording station. In 1966 the Geography Department of the University of Birmingham took over the running of the observatory until operations were transferred to the main campus.
The Tolkien connection
Tolkien lived within a few miles of the tower for much of his childhood. Local lore has long held that Perrott's Folly, along with a nearby tower for Edgbaston Waterworks, were the inspirations for the Two Towers, after which the second volume of Lord of the Rings is named. The windows down the side of Perrott's Folly are similar to Tolkien's sketches of Orthanc and the waterworks tower has a smaller section rising above the parapet similar to Tolkien's representation of Minas Morgul.
Due to years of under-investment and neglect as well as a small local earthquake the building is currently unsafe for the public to climb. Large cracks, near the base of the tower, have been caused by subsidence.
The Perrott's Folly Company was formed in 1984 to renovate the tower, in order for it to be accessible to the public. The company has obtained grants from English Heritage and Birmingham City Council to try and secure the building but still needs approximately £300,000 to secure the building. In its present state the building has only a few years until the damage the building has sustained is beyond repair.
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