It’s the 150th anniversary of the birth of HG Wells this hg-wellsyear – and the 70th anniversary of his death as well. He may have lived for only a short time in Woking, but he put the town well and truly on the map by beginning his world-famous sci-fi novel The War of the Worlds on Horsell common, the place where his Martian invasion force lands. Wells lived in a small semi-detached villa in Maybury Road facing the railway line, “where all night long the goods trains shunted and bumped and clattered without serious effect upon our healthy slumbers”. He had a good word to say for the nearby Basingstoke canal … “Close at hand in those days was a pretty and rarely used canal amidst pine woods, a weedy canal, beset with loosestrife, spiraea, forget-me-nots, and yellow water lilies, upon which one could be happy for hours in a hired canoe”. But The War of The Worlds hg-wells-posteris why we remember Wells in Woking. Over the next few months there is packed calendar of events commemorating the man and his book, and culminating in the unveiling of a statue of Wells in the town. The HG Wells Society is staging a three-day international conference on the great man in Woking in July, and you can find a guide to all the upcoming events, including walks, talks, exhibitions and performances here. The Lightbox has kicked off the celebrations with its own exhibition – and Woking Writers Circle member Greg Freeman went along to take a look at it.

 

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