Perrott's Folly and Edgbaston Waterworks Tower - A pair of Birmingham Gems!

Perrott's Folly and Edgbaston Waterworks Tower are two prominent landmarks on the Ladywood/Edgbaston border of Birmingham.  Both are steeped in history with Tolkien connections.

Where are the Towers?

The Two Towers are located on Waterworks Road in Ladywood, Birmingham and were an inspiration to J.R.R. Tolkien in his writing the Lord of the Rings trilogy of novels.


Suggested vantage points

The Edgbaston Waterworks Tower and Perrott's Folly can be seen together at various locations.

Here they can be seen from the car park at the Birmingham Oratory.

The Two Towers

The Two Towers from the Oratory (September 2019). Photography by Elliott Brown

They can also be spotted together from Edgbaston Reservoir, from near Midland Sailing Club and the dam (retaining wall). They are behind The Tower Ballroom in this view.

The Two Towers

The Two Towers from Edgbaston Reservoir (June 2020). Photography by Elliott Brown


Perrott's Folly

Perrott's Folly was also known as The Monument or The Observatory.

It was built in what was then Rotton Park by John Perrott in 1758. The land at the time was open countryside. He built it either to view his wife's grave from afar or to entertain guests or simply to survey his land. He actually himself lived in Belbroughton.

The tower was used from 1884 until 1979 as a weather recording station for the Birmingham & Midland Institute. The Perrott's Folly Company was formed in 1984 to restore the tower and open it up to the public. But the company eventually closed in 2009. There were periods in the late 2000s when it was opened to the public.

Perrott's Folly is a Grade II* listed building and built of red brick. It is octagonal in shape on a square base with a round stair turret. It was listed in 1952, and the listing was last amended in 1982.

Perrott's Folly

Perrott's Folly (July 2020). Photography by Elliott Brown


Edgbaston Waterworks Tower

The Edgbaston Waterworks is located at the bottom end of Waterworks Road in Ladywood.

Edgbaston Waterworks was also called the Edgbaston Pumping Station.  The buildings were designed by John Henry Chamberlain and William Martin during 1870. The buildings are Grade II listed. The listing includes the Edgbaston Pumping Station, the store room, the generator room and the ornamented chimney stack.

The site is run by Severn Trent Water. While it is close to Edgbaston Reservoir, there is no current or historical connection to the water here. The water pumping station apparently dates to about 1862. The tower was built of red brick with blue brick details. You can see how the tower influenced Tolkien for The Two Towers, especially the detail at the top.

Edgbaston Waterworks Tower

Edgbaston Waterworks Tower (July 2020). Photography by Elliott Brown



Project dates

24 Feb 2021 - On-going


History & heritage, Civic pride, Classic Architecture


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Jonathan Bostock

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