A demolition worker was celebrating after stumbling across a postcard sent to author JRR Tolkien hidden behind a fireplace in his former home.
Stephen Malton made the discovery while unscrewing the fireplace at The Lord of the Rings author’s bungalow in Poole, Dorset, when the bulldozers moved in.
The 42-year-old is hoping to sell the fireplace, postcard, a bronze fairy and stone gryphon which were found in the garden, at auction at a later date.
Tolkien spent much of his childhood in Birmingham and was inspired in his work by local landmarks.
Mr Malton, who owns Bournemouth-based ProDem Demolition, said: “I’ve been in demolition most of my life. I have been doing this for 15 years, my father did it for 40 years before me.
“All of a sudden for this to land in your lap is just quite unbelievable.”
Fans of the author, whose full name was John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, are upset at the demolition of the historic three-bedroom bungalow on Lakeside Road where Tolkien retired with his wife Edith in 1968. He moved to Oxford in 1972 after she died and sold the house for £23,000 to Stephen Frankel who put it on the market for £1 million in 2006.
Developers Cranbrook Homes (Southern) Ltd bought the bungalow and secured planning permission to replace it with two four-bedroom family homes.
He said: “You could have knocked me down with a feather. To find something with the Tolkien name on it is quite amazing.
“We have looked under the floors, if we find a Hobbit that will be the icing on the cake.”
The postcard is dated 1968 and addressed to the author at the Miramar Hotel, Bournemouth, where he and his wife spent many holidays.
It depicts a landscape in Cork, Ireland, and is signed “Lin”, which Mr Malton believes to be fantasy author Lin Carter, who wrote A Look Behind the Lord of the Rings, published a year later in 1969.
It mentions seascapes and hedgerows, walking and driving in the countryside.
It reads: “I have been thinking of you a lot and hope everything has gone as well as could be expected in the most difficult circumstances.”