H.G WELLS in FOLKESTONE

then finally we went to the bridge, the Folkestone Bridge,

and read the passage where the bridge collapses. 






War of the Worlds surely not only offers a visual festive of the conflict between humanity and the others, the extraterrestrial kind, but also a good criticism of British Imperialism.


The victory feeling over Victorian society is now overwhelmed by Martians' taking over the planet.​​ 


And we walked around Folkestone to see traces of this invasion. 

"the martian" Illustration by Henrique Alvim Correa

"and before we judge of them too harshly we must remember what ruthless and utter destruction our own species has wrought, not only upon animals, such as the vanished bison and the dodo, but upon its inferior races. The Tasmanians, in spite of their human likeness, were entirely swept out of existence in a war of extermination waged by European immigrants, in the space of fifty years. Are we such apostles of mercy as to complain if the Martians warred in the same spirit?"

--- the War of the Worlds

After reading some extracts from the book at Leas Lift, we were given some missions.  These were the rules:


-We have to stay together until we arrived at civilisation.

-Everything that has red on it is to be avoided, it is a sign of  a Martian.

-Greens are safe zones.

-All kinds of cylinders should be avoided.

-All kinds of tripods should also be avoided, since they are Martians’ flying machines. 

-All CCTV cameras are dangerous. We are being watched.


It was not a hot June day, it was a very cold and rainy November afternoon in Folkestone, and even some of us wished for a little bit of hot-wave, the one Martians used as a weapon towards humans.

humanity towards the others ?

Folkestone Seafront, A K Dolven’s installation "OUT OF TUNE"


...to the railway station, we went, as the protagonist did.

a desolated place, pretty haunted. 

Folkestone Harbour railway station

​           has been out-of-service for quite a long time,  indeed. 

Walk like Wells  | a psychogeographical walk |  Folkestone Bookfestival 

psychogeography: is an alternative way of discovering a city.


The word first used by Guy Debord, member of the Situationist International, to describe the influences of geography on people's behaviour and emotions.








​although Folkestone is not even mentioned in War of the Worlds, (actual map of the book is here)  Wells has good relations to Folkestone.


He moved to Folkestone for the benefit of his health and he lived in Spade House in Sandgate from 1898 to 1909 which is located a minute walk from Leas Lift.


​This place inspired him to write The First Men in the Moon and The Sea Lady. 



Plus, the quiches are must-try. 

back to

When the tour was over, and once we were safely back to civilisation, what I needed was a good coffee, and a cosy corner to read and to think about the Martians.

​WALK LIKE WELLS


Folkestone is a little city on the south-east coast of England, an important harbour and shipping port for 19th and 20th century, in which since then, so many things have arrived. 

So many things have arrived.


But what if MARTIANS arrive on Folkestone harbour?


What would we do? What could we do?


We have discovered this on a rainy afternoon, at Walk Like Wells, a literary psychogeographical walk organised by Folkestone Book Festival, guided by Sonia Overall.
​We encounteredthe War of The Worlds.

​​

in a desolated landscape 

we heard the bell rung 

another passage Sonia had read 

we knew, we had to escape

the sea had the monsters​,

and a dark shade of indigo
and now, where to go?






We met at Leas Lift, which is a 19th century funicular railway, and one of the oldest lifts in UK.  

​Best place to start the psychogeographical walk of a book that has been written in 19th century, whose writer had lived just minutes away.










"Folkestone Book Festival is a place to feel part of a community, to gather and listen to stories, to question and to laugh, to reflect on the big picture and take the long view. It will also be a place to nurture one’s individual creativity and to reflect on what makes us human." 


​Geraldine D’Amico
Festival curator

Located on a very street street,  Steep Street Coffeehousedoes not only serves as a coffeehouse with great coffee and cosy armchairs at the centre of Creative Quarter of town, which has been renovated and designed with a bohemian spirit, but also as a second-hand bookshop with ridiculously cheap prices.


​This place also hosts literary events such as book readings and book launches. The taxonomy is also good, -certainly better than some bookshops in UK- in addition to hardcover fictions, there is a good variety of art-books, books on science, natural history and politics.