The internationally celebrated author J.R.R Tolkien was born in South Africa in 1892. Tolkien (called by his second name, Ronald, and his brother Hilary, spent their childhood in Birmingham with Mabel, their mother who returned to her Birmingham home for a holiday and stayed here when her husband died in Bloemfontain. The family moved about Birmingham quite alot but their first home as a small family was lived in the hamlet of Sarehole. The years spent here were said Tolkien, the happiest years of his youth. Sarehole is said to have been the model for The Shire, home to the hobbits in his books The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.