Originally published on JRR Tolkien Examiner on 6/22/09.
The now-shuttered Three Cups Hotel in Lyme Regis, Dorset, has been targeted by developers who want to convert it into apartments.
Howe, a local Dorset youth and Lord of the Rings fan, made his campaign to save the hotel from development a school project. This past weekend he arranged a protest march through Lyme Regis, collecting 1,000 signatures. Participants were encouraged to dress as characters from The Lord of the Rings, The French Lieutenant’s Woman, or in costumes related to other famous persons who stayed at the hotel, such as Jane Austen, GK Chesterton or Lord Tennyson.
Actor Jeremy Irons, who filmed part of The French Lieutenant’s Woman at the hotel, supports Howe’s campaign.
Howe and other local residents are demanding that the West Dorset District Council purchase the hotel and sell it to a developer who will restore it to its previous condition.
Talks to redevelop the site, which has been derelict for 20 years, have been underway since 2007.
Note: I have been unable to independently confirm that Tolkien worked on his Legendarium at The Three Cups. There is no mention of it in Carpenter’s Biography or Letters. However, it appears Tolkien made a sketch from a window of The Three Cups, which appears in Hammond’s JRR Tolkien, Artist and Illustrator.
If you know anything about Tolkien’s relationship with The Three Cups, please leave a comment or email me. Thanks, Erik.