‘A TIME-TRAVELLERS HOMECOMING’
H.G. WELLS FESTIVAL COMES TO NEWCASTLE-UNDER LYME
Fans of H.G. Wells and his fantastical science fiction will have something really special to look forward to in April, as the very first North Staffordshire H.G. Wells festival will be held in Newcastle-under-Lyme.
To be staged on Saturday the 4th April 2020, the event is the brainchild of enthusiasts Andrew Van Buren and Glenn Martin James. This fun and fascinating family event is being held to celebrate the 125th anniversary of the publication of Wells’ world-famous book ‘THE TIME MACHINE’. The event has something very special to shout about locally, as it’s also the 132nd anniversary of the famous writer coming to live in North Staffordshire – during what would be an earth shaking-stay for him professionally, and for the rest of us in the incredible science fiction he went on to write, as a result of the time he spent here.
H.G. Wells came to stay with his friends William and Eliza Burton in 1888, at their house in Victoria Street, Basford, and lived at the address for three months, from April till June that year. The region made an unforgettable impression on his imagination, and solidified his desire to be a writer, during
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a period when the young author was suffering from a serious sporting injury, and thought he did not have long to live.
Not only did he recover his lust for life while living in Basford, but his exploration of Wolstanton, May Bank and Etruria gave him the inspiration for what would become ‘The War of the Worlds’, (particularly the way the furnaces of Shelton bar illuminated the evening skies when being vented) as well as ‘The Time Machine.’ Wells actually started writing ‘The Time Machine’ while living at Victoria Road, and these two works in particular have had a huge influence on science fiction throughout the succeeding century and a quarter. Truly one of the Fathers of Science Fiction, he has an incredible link to North Staffs, and this is something the event will celebrate.
North Staffordshire has another claim to fame in inspiring the great author – the eminent scientist Sir Oliver Lodge, living and experimenting at his home Moreton House at Wolstanton, is widely considered to have been the original inspiration for Wells’ Time Traveller.
Andrew Van Buren, the celebrated illusionist based in Silverdale, has been a fan of Wells all his life – and has developed a show-stopping illusion based on the time machine as one of his professional set pieces, complete with a rampaging Morlock, one of Wells’ fearsome monsters bought back from the future! His time machine is an impressive creation, complete with a flux capacitor from ‘Back to the Future’ and has shades of Doctor Who and Wells’ original machine. Andrew was a prime mover in developing the Philip Astley Homecoming events, celebrating the life of the legendary showman, founder of the modern circus, who hailed from Newcastle. Wells enthusiast Glenn Martin James (based in May Bank) is an author, illustrator and performer, and a former outreach author with Operation Spitfire and the St. Giles Heritage Churchyard Project. Glenn developed a display surrounding Wells’ connection to Newcastle last year while working with Newcastle-under-Lyme Bid on the celebrations for Queen Victoria’s 200th Birthday celebrations last year. Mr James built a display of steampunk Martian War Machines which were displayed at Newcastle Guildhall twice during June, and were the centre of enormous curiosity and interest. The two creative specialists aim to bring a little sci-fi wonder to Newcastle Town centre in honour of Wells.
On the day there will be a parade of Time Travellers down the Iron Market from the Queens Gardens to the Guildhall and home-made time machines and Martians made by local children. There will be special dance performances, displays, activities for children, and a screening of the 1960’s world famous version of ‘The Time Machine’ movie at Belong Village, as well as a chance for families to meet the time traveller, Mr. Wells himself and Mrs. Burton of Victoria Street.
For further information contact Glenn Martin James on 0844 500 6185 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.