While walking through town the other day, passing all the familiar shops and public houses, I noticed a blue plaque on the wall outside The Old Drum. These plaques are put up to commemorate a connection to someone important and I wondered who it could be. I also wondered why I had not noticed it before.
I crossed the road to have a better look and discovered that H G Wells, the famous author, used to lunch and write there.
There are many old buildings in Petersfield, so it shouldn’t have surprised me that someone so important had visited us, but we are lifelong fans of his work, The Time Machine in particular, so could be excused for being more than a little enthusiastic!
We have a very special reason for loving the fact that this man has walked the same streets that we do. Since watching The Time Machine (the original one) we have fantasised about having our very own time machine. Think of all the wonderful places we could travel to and see them as they were. Like the pyramids…or Jerusalem. Or Cornwall and Wales, following King Arthur and Merlin, see first- hand the truth behind all those myths.
We even have our very own model of a time machine, beautifully made for us by a very clever gentleman in America, a Vince Winskunas. www.timemachinemodels.com
A perfect replica of the one in the film, complete with the tantalus box to keep it in. The lights flash and the dish revolves and it cost a lot of money, but as a connection to our fantasies, it is priceless.
Not sure if H G Wells actually lived here in Petersfield, but it is likely he did. No record of it though. His mother worked in Uppark, the famous country house quite near here, and H G worked as an apprentice in a Southsea draper shop. Apparently, it was the magnificent library at Uppark that inspired him to venture into literature.
He spent time at Midhurst Grammar school too.
There is an interesting connection to another of our favourite historical characters, Leonardo da Vinci, the famous painter, sculptor, scientist, inventor and writer. He too kept diaries, covering them with sketches and doodles. His ideas were considered far- fetched too, but they were both right, in their own way…