J.R.R. Tolkien CBE held his first full academic position as Reader in English Language at Leeds in 1920. His academic career in Leeds was short, only 5 years, but when he left to take up the Rawlinson and Bosworth Chair of Anglo-Saxon at Oxford, he was already a Professor of English. During his time in Leeds he collaborated on a new edition of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and in 1924 Tolkien and his growing family moved to 2 Darnley Road, West Park.
Tuesday, October 1, 2013
Well a year has passed since the Tolkien Societywith the Leeds Civic Trust unveiled the plaque at 2
Darnley Road. It stirred quite an interest in Tolkien and Leeds.
It was followed by a piece during the run-up to the
release of The Hobbit: An Unexpected
Journey referring to materials held at the Brotherton Library.
For today’s residents of West Park the Leodis Photographic Archivecontains some period images of Darnley Road. These
provide an insight to the opportunities that Tolkien saw for himself and his
family at this time in their life. They had been living in St Marks Terrace (off
Woodhouse Lane) for the best part of three years, though life so close to the
city came with its own problems, ‘chemicals in the air rotted the curtains within six
months, and baby Michael was covered in smuts if he was left outside in his
pram for any length of time; and Ronald found that he had to change his collar
three times a day!’
The move to what were the ‘leafy suburbs’ of north Leeds
must have been quite a prospect.
It still is, and today 2 Darnley Roadstands as a lasting memorial to the development of
Leeds and those who have come to live and work in this great city.