South Downs National Park
Known as the 'father of science fiction', Wells is probably most famous for his book, The War Of The Worlds
HG Wells society
The town of Midhurst was where HG Wells attended grammar school and also where he began to train as a pharmacist. The town appears in his novel Tono-Bungay
Born in Bromley, Kent, Herbert George Wells went to live in Sussex when he was seven years old. His father had been injured and could no longer work and his mother had found a job as a housekeeper at Uppark, a stately home on the South Downs near South Harting.
Heritage trail: Uppark
The young boy discovered the joy of books when he was given the run of the library there. He attended Midhurst Grammar School where he was later to become a teacher (this part of his life features in Love And Mr Lewisham). As a teenager he began to train as a pharmacist in Midhurst – and the town appears in his novel Tono-Bungay.
That War Of The Worlds broadcast...
When The War Of The Worlds was made into a 1938 radio broadcast for an America audience, narrated by Orson Welles, it caused mass hysteria – people really did believe aliens from Mars had landed.
From science to science fiction
In 1883 Wells won a scholarship to the Normal School of Science in London. Under Thomas Henry Huxley, Aldous Huxley’s grandfather, he studied biology and Darwinism – themes which occupied him in his later writing.
Wells has been called the ‘father’ of science fiction – and he was one of the earliest writers to use his scientific knowledge to write in this style.
He wrote 20 novels including:
- The Time Machine (1895)
- The Invisible Man (1897)
- The War Of The Worlds (1898)
- The First Men In The Moon (1901)
As well as science fiction he wrote ‘realist’ novels and some comic social novels such as Kipps (1905) and The History Of Mr Polly (1910).
Did you know?
For more information on Wells' work see:
Did you know?
For a picture of rural Sussex before the age of the car read Wells' book The Wheels Of Chance, on bicycling through Sussex in car-free times.