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Page last updated at 11:11 GMT, Tuesday, 13 October 2009 12:11 UK
Did the internet start in Kent?
By Hamish Reid
BBC Kent

HG Wells
H G Wells was born in Kent and some think invented the internet

The internet was invented by Tim Berners-Lee, but did the idea for a world wide web of information go a little further back in history?

If we go back to the 1930s then the origin of the World Wide Web could be right here in Kent.

H.G Wells, seen by many as the father of modern science fiction writing, was born in Bromley in 1866.

He forecast aspects of the 20th century so accurately, including TV news reports and super-highways.

He has been described as "the man who invented tomorrow".

It was another super-highway, this time the information super-highway that has affected all of us.

He wrote several books which mentioned his prediction for a world wide web of knowledge, or the "World Brain" as he called it. He believed the world was descending into war because of mass ignorance.

Networking knowledge
The World Brain can be accessed from homes, libraries and offices

In his book "The work, wealth and happiness of mankind", published in 1932, he talks about wanting information to be indexed and go out to people, rather than them having to go into libraries to find it. He pictures a reading room of the British Library as a cell of the world's brain, made up of all the world's libraries.

He wrote of the World Brain as, "a sort of mental clearing house for the mind, a depot where knowledge and ideas are received, sorted, summarized, digested, clarified and compared."

He even came up with a classification scheme of organising all this information too. As an indication of how advanced his thoughts were, the new technology of microfilm was just starting to be employed to capture rare books.

Does this make Kent the hub of the World Wide Web, or even the centre of cyberspace? You decide.


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