Writer HG Wells at 17th century Uppark house Part 2

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Driving amidst long stretches of greenery we headed for the panoramic views from the lone house on a hill- the 17thcentury Uppark House and garden in England. Our visit was part of the Literary Trail to the late 19th century celebrity science- fiction writer H G Wells who spent part of his childhood and youth in Uppark House! Further, it was a visit to unveil the captivating colourful lives of its several owners- the Earls of Tankerville since 1690 to the wealthy Fetherstonhaugh family from 1747, their fabulous art collections and the unique lifelike realistic Doll- Houses of Uppark House!!

Uppark House North entrance with Portland stone portico, and Lichen’embellished’ pillars

A while ago, on the greenery enveloped gravel-path we spotted the Dutch styled Uppark House- an attractive blend of red bricks, off-white stone work and sloping grey roof, the ‘Up Park House’! Earlier we had toured the beautiful Stone hall, grand Saloon, Red Drawing room, Little Drawing room and the striking Bedrooms we headed for the Basement of Uppark.

Basement – Memories of HG Wells

We descended the Basement of Uppark house and first came upon the Servants Hall redecorated after the colossal Fire of Uppark House in 1989 , the long table and benches seemed to echo writer H G Wells words ‘ below stairs was gay at Christmas and I was gay with it’. The large Kitchen next door and a really big oak- table against a backdrop of sparkling copper utensils and traditional indigo-blue bone china crockery shelves looked as if used recently!

H G Wells and his books on display at several other Homes we had visited- Greys Court and Sissinghurst castle libraries

At the end of the passage we reached our much awaited destination in Uppark House- the Housekeeper Sarah Wells room who was writer HG Wells mother! From 1880-93 she held numerous responsibilities at the Uppark household besides kitchen, cleaning and attending female family members, which sounded like an unfair burden !!

Time Travel Machine

I stepped into the time machine to see a young Herbert G Wells spending time here to recover from an illness in 1887-88 and his mother Sarah sitting on easy wooden chair near the Fireplace sipping tea in the well-lit cream and brown woodwork room with many cupboards. HG Wells once said that during restoration of the walls, at least 14 layers of off-white paint were found underneath!! A volunteer had mentioned previously that as a child Herbert G Wells was often seen chasing maids in the passages as a prank!!

Popular novels by H G Wells that we had seen earlier at another Statehome-Greys Court

HG Wells – the doyen of Science fiction- Time & Space

Famous writer HG Wells who wrote 50 plus novels, dozens of short stories, science -fiction besides non-fiction; had a connexion with the 19th century Uppark House. Between1880-1893 he stayed several times at Uppark House where his mother Sarah Wells was the Housekeeper married to Joseph, the gardener at Uppark as they struggled with financial crisis most of their lives. Their son Herbert G Wells went on to become the renowned English writer of top-sellers especially science fiction; the creator of the popular mysterious Invisible Man, Time- Machine and many more!! Initially, when unemployed Wells spent time reading vigorously in the large library of Uppark House and soon read Plato’s Republic, radical philosopher Voltaire, Thomas More’s Utopia and writer Daniel Defoe!


Wells felt the sharp social and economic variance in the‘Upstairs House’ and the Downstairs basement of Uppark house, a fact he highlighted through his writings!! A volunteerhad told us earlier that Wells studied the night sky in great detail from his telescope, in the attic of Uppark house that inspired his science –fiction books. Additionally, his work was influenced by writers like Mark Twain, Johnathan Swift, French writer Jules Verne of the Around the World in 80 Days fame. H G Wells biography includes essential recollections of Uppark- reading books from its library, star-watching with his telescope in the attic bedroom that was a stimulus to his books TonoBungay & Bladesover.

Medieval Refrigeration

Past the Beer and Wine Cellar with many columns and vaulting, originally made to support the heavy marble floor upstairs in the beautiful Saloon we reached the Steward’s room that holds the unique impressive Doll Houses. The coolness in the cellar was like refrigeration!!

Doll House & meeting Mr Wheeler

At the Steward’s room we had come to the end of our tour and finally walked into the dream world of every girl- the exquisitely crafted Doll house with lifelike realistic miniatures in the 3 floors of the Doll House from the year1740 brought here by Lady Sarah from her paternal home. The pleasant voiced Room Steward Mr Wheeler supplied us with information on the pedantically dressed wax-dolls of real persons living in the fine architecture Doll-House with triangular pediment and several intricately carved statues on its roof. The rooms on the floors below held exquisite furniture, tiny wall paintings, hall-marked silver & glass glistening on the Dining table, fire-irons of silver & brass, below stairs basement rooms figures of Servants were created of wood not wax !! One could browse for long, discovering new items every time one looked repeatedly- truly fascinating!

Meeting Mr Wheeler in the Steward’s room with the 2 Doll houses

There was another beautiful Doll house displayed in the room from the early 20th century, made for the children of Uppark house depicting the Ground floor and 1st floor as excellent miniatures of the original House!! One just feels like being a part of it by entering the Miniscule Fantasy world.

Mr Wheeler turned out to be a very interesting person who was eagerly waiting to question us if we were from Ceylon (Sri-Lanka) for his son-in-law was from there and a reputed Surgeon in England. Mr Wheeler was very proud to have him in his family. He chatted with us about the Indian sub-continent and how much he respected the culture & intelligence of the people there. Some elders still refers to destinations with their old names!!A memorable visit indeed.

Tunnel to a Medieval Kitchen and more

Subsequently we headed for the underground Tunnel of the Uppark House that led to the sunlit café; once the Kitchen of Uppark House and the vast gardens outside with reminiscences of writer H G Wells growing up in Uppark house with restless thoughts of vast economic dissimilarities between classes!!

The underground tunnel leading to the Old Kitchen of Uppark house, now a modern cafe in the East Service building