The 27th Adventure Podcast: Death & Destruction in Woking (‘The War of the Worlds’)

We’re back! Having come to the end of ‘The Riddle of the Sands’, we find another book that is “curiously specific about dates and locations”.

A day-trip to Woking, Weybridge and Shepperton allows us to map out the action of the opening chapters of H. G. Wells’s ’The War of the Worlds’.

Lloyd explains how Woking, since Victorian times, has been  a town marked by death, and goes in search of the first working mosque in Western Europe, outside of Moorish Spain. Tim addresses the basic questions of exactly when the Martians might have landed in Woking, how long it would have taken them to fly from Mars to Earth, and how big a Martian tripod is (not the size of the model one in Woking shopping centre btw).

First up, we explain how and why our attempt at crowdfunding at Unbound has come to an end, and how our supporters can get their money back (00:25). We affirm our intention to keep noodling around with old books, and focus on ‘The War of the Worlds’ (02:57).

Our first impressions of Woking (04:17); the story of how a pub in Woking got to be named after Ogilvy the astronomer (05:41); Woking as a town of death (07:07); a tip of the hat to Woking boy, Paul Weller (08:54); a visit to Horsell Common, where the Martians landed (10:32).

Funeral Pyre by The Jam (filmed at the sandpits on Horsell Common, where the Martians landed)

Tim’s thoughts about when the Martians might have landed (12:00), including information about the Opposition of Mars (13:21), a proposed launch date from Mars of 12th February 1901 (14:54), a discussion about how fast objects fly through space (17:28), a proposed landing date of 7th or 14th June 1901 (21:56).

Lloyd reveals the history of the Woking mosque (22:20), and the town’s long association with Islamism (24:36); the extraordinary life of Gottleib Leitner and the creation of the Oriental College (27:23).

The Woking Martian (not the right size at all)

Having razed Woking, we move on to the destruction of Weybridge and Shepperton, and try to work out how big a Martian tripod actually is (30:51); a few interesting and mainly useless facts about Shepperton (33:15); estimating a tripod’s stride and height (36:05); tall buildings of Britain that a tripod might tower over, including the tallest building in the UK in 1895 (38:02).

No Club Business  – but many many thanks to everyone who has written to us, and to all who have supported us over the last 18 months.


Great Open Sea by the Wellington Sea Shanty Society:

Jeff Wayne’s War of the Worlds –

Funeral Pyre – The Jam : (filmed at the sandpits on Horsell Common, where the Martians landed)

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