Last year Woking celebrated the 150th anniversary of the birth of HG Wells, the author who put the town on the map – or rather, wiped the town off it – with his novel The War of the Worlds, which described how an invading force of Martians landed in a sandpit on Horsell common – pictured above – and proceeded to obliterate all nearby civilisation.
The group Wells in Woking is committed to keeping the flame of HG Wells and the Martians’ devastating heat ray in Woking alive – and to that end is promising a series of events in September 2017.
They include The Time Machine, a “musical adventure”, on 9 September; an HG Wells “flash mob” in Woking’s Town Square on 12 September; a string of events on 21 September – “Wells in Woking Day” – from 12 pm onwards, when Community Players will re-enact the Martians’ arrival at the Statue in Woking, and including an evening talk at the Living Planet Centre. There will also be a couple of War of the Worlds walks led by local historian Iain Wakeford.
It all sounds a lot of fun. On its website Wells in Woking says: “ Wells in Woking was created in 2013 when three Horsell residents decided to mark the 150th anniversary of HG Wells, the author, who had lived in Woking when he worked on several of his ‘scientific romances’ which spawned the sci-fi genre: the most famous of his works being The War of the Worlds in which he had Martians landing on Horsell common.
“The trio took their thoughts to Woking borough council which embraced the idea and so the Wells in Woking events of 2016 came about. The project covered all aspects of Wells’ life and works and became not only successful in the Woking area but nationally and, indeed, internationally. Perhaps intergalactically, for all we know.
“After three years of hard work we do not want HG Wells to become The Invisible Man. To that end we intend to continue to promote his works and to start an annual Wells in Woking Day, which would be celebrated on 21 September – the anniversary of his birth.”
The group is already thinking about events for 2018, with the theme of literature and writing, involving schools, and a poetry competition. Woking Writers Circle might have a role to play in all this. Watch this space!