Tuesday, 5 May 2009
Bird and Baby Inn
The Shire is probably the best and most rewarding place to explore for all and any Tolkien fans. A big, glittering Egg pops up for them right at the beggining of the journey - The Bird and Baby Inn. No, the name and the sign are not coincidence ;)
The Inklings was an Oxford writers' group which included J. R. R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis. From 1939 to 1962 they met at the Eagle and Child Friday before lunch, to drink and talk, usually in an area at the back of the pub, which was then a private sitting room and is now known as the Rabbit Room. Contrary to popular impression (and also contrary to the plaque posted in the pub), the Inklings did not read their manuscripts to each other in the pub: these readings took place at evening meetings usually in Lewis's college rooms. The Inklings changed allegiance in 1962 by moving across St Giles' to the Lamb & Flag pub, but it is the Eagle and Child's Rabbit Room that attracts visitors.
The pub's sign shows an eagle carrying a small child in a fold of cloth suspended from a claw, which was derived from the crest of the Earl of Derby. The image is said to refer to a story of a noble-born baby having been found in an eagle's nest. It is said to bear a resemblance to artistic representations of the abduction of Ganymede by Zeus in the guise of an eagle in Greek Mythology.
It is also known as the Bird and Baby. Other less common nicknames have included the "Bird and Brat", the "Bird and Bastard", the "Bustard and Bastard" and the "Fowl and Foetus".
(thank you, wikipedia)