After my post about the book The Martians Are Coming, and with nothing to do the next afternoon, I jumped on a local train and visited the home town of H G Wells, a place called Woking, Surrey, England.
I endeavour where ever possible, not to take what I am told, given, or learn at face value, unlike the listeners of that radio play by Orson Welles broadcast in 1938 in the USA, which resulted in mass panic, where people thought Martians were invading Earth. I need to dig down, chunk down, to discover more facts, to understand the truth behind what I am being told, what I read, or what I am being fed.
And so it was, after a short journey I left the railway station in Woking. I had read that there was a Martian Fighting Machine described by H G Wells in his book The War Of The Worlds erected in the town center. I walked down a road deserted of shoppers and with not very inspiring shops, having really no idea of which direction to take, only presupposing that any artwork would perhaps be in the town center.
As I rounded a corner my eyes caught sight of a jet fighter mounted on a large metal pole. Why was it mounted in the center of Woking I could not find out from asking local people, only that once it had been a indoor showpiece of the nearby Big Apple family entertainment centre. One window cleaner I talked to, said he had worked and lived in the area for fifteen years and had no idea what it was all about. I have later found out that it is thought to be the very last Hawker Hunter ever built.
Then down the road from the corner of my eye, (thank you Phillip’s Sausage), I saw the Martian Fighting Machine.
With very little information about the sculpture I took my time viewing this work by Michael Condron. Smaller than I imagined, some 7m (23′) tall, the sculpture seemed to be in the wrong place to honour one of Woking’s greatest authors.
A quick tour of the shops and a cup of hot chocolate and I was back on a train home, not knowing much more than when I started my afternoon trip. But now a little seed has been planted to research why the Hawker Hunter has been placed outside a rather seedy looking Big Apple family entertainment centre.