Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit cast members have offered their support to a campaign looking to buy author J.R.R. Tolkien’s famous Oxford home.
Charitable organisation Project Northmoor is seeking to raise £4.5m in order to purchase 20 Northmoor Road and transform the Grade II-listed property into a “literary centre” honouring the writer.
A video launched by the charity features Lord of the Rings stars including Gandalf actor Sir Ian McKellen and John Rhys-Davies, who portrayed the dwarf Gimli.
They are joined by singer Annie Lennox, The Hobbit leading man Martin Freeman and Sir Derek Jacobi, who appeared in recent biopic Tolkien.
Money raised by the campaign will go towards purchasing the house, as well as the necessary cosmetic changes to make it the first ever centre dedicated to Tolkien and his work.
The first £4m of the fundraising target will actually allow the organisation to buy the building, with the rest of the money devoted to renovation and establishing a bursary fund to enable access for those from a low-income background.
Read more: Tolkien’s family criticises biopic
Tolkien and his family moved into Northmoor Road in 1930 and stayed there throughout the Second World War.
This included the time the author spent writing The Hobbit and, subsequently, the trilogy of Lord of the Rings books.
The campaign wrote: “There is no centre devoted to Tolkien studies anywhere in the world – a remarkable fact considering the writer’s importance and continuing popularity.
“This is the perfect house to set this right.”
Planning restrictions prevent the house, which sits on a quiet residential street, from becoming a museum and so Tolkien fans will have to book short stays at the property.
Project Northmoor wrote: “It is our belief that the best way to honour Tolkien is to use the centre to inspire new generations of writers and artists, using Tolkien as the spark to light up the imagination.”
The charity says this also maintains the “homely house atmosphere” of the building, which will make it even more suitable for creative courses and writing retreats.
Campaigners have made it clear that, even if they are unsuccessful in purchasing the house, any money raised will go towards the promotion of Tolkien’s legacy and the celebration of creativity.
The Lord of the Rings movies won multiple Oscars and earned a combined $2.96bn (£2.2bn) at the worldwide box office, with the Hobbit trilogy adding another $2.93bn (£2.18bn) to that total.
A blockbuster TV series is now on the way from Amazon Prime, with filming currently underway in New Zealand — the franchise’s spiritual home.
Watch: Lord of the Rings cast reveal matching tattoos