'Llisten carefully. You'll have to remember this.
Go to Paddington Station---'
With a sort of military precision that astonished him,
she outlined the route that he was to follow.


A half-hour railway journey; turn left outside the station;
two kilometres along the road; a gate with the top bar missing;
a path across a field; a grass-grown lane; a track between bushes;
a dead tree with moss on it.
It was as though she had a map inside her head.

To Orwell Today,

Hi Jackie,

Thanks for putting up your website.

I am wondering if you have thought about one of the locations in 1984 and where it might be in real life.

I am talking about the scene where Winston and Julia meet up in the woods.

My best guess is that it is somewhere near Slough station.

For some reason I had the idea that in the book Orwell mentions that the fields leading up to the wood are no longer being used. The idea of a deserted farm track on a deserted farm leading to a ramshackle wood in the middle of nowhere was appealing to me. Particularly when I thought that in our current time the farm track probably leads to a five bedroom mini-mansion with an outdoor pool, a cabana, and a sunroom.

Unfortunately there doesn't seem to be much open space around Slough -- at least not now.

Best wishes,

Greetings Gordon,

Thanks for sending your thoughts on the real-life location of the woods where Winston and Julia had their first tryst -- I think you're right-on in your guesstimate.

I googled "Slough Station" and learned it's a half-hour train ride from Paddington Station (where Winston boarded the train in London) and it's the closest stop to Eton (where Orwell went to school for five years).

During his years at Eton -- 1917 to 1921 -- Orwell would have walked those footpaths and ventured into the surrounding woods whenever he got the chance because exploring the countryside -- birdwatching and studying flora and fauna -- was one of his favourite pastimes all through his life -- and Orwell would have no doubt travelled that very same train journey between Slough and Paddington many many times.

Awhile ago I came across a YouTube of John Lennon's voice singing "Julia" as background for an animated walk through the woods. It reminded me of 1984 and Winston's walk through the woods to meet Julia. Here it is:

~ watch JULIA -- JOHN LENNON listen ~

Godcidently, John Lennon's middle name is "Winston" and in an interview back in the 60s John said he'd read millions of books and had Orwell on his bookshelf. See JOHN WINSTON LENNON SMITH

Once again, thanks for your real-life 1984 location discovery -- it's a valued contribution to the ongoing search for Orwell places. See ORWELL'S 1984 LONDON LOCATIONS

All the best,
Jackie Jura

PS - Since answering your email I've just now re-read parts of KEEP THE ASPIDISTRA FLYING (in preparation for typing a page for Orwell's 111th birthday) and discovered that Orwell has the main characters (Gordon and his girlfriend Rosemary) take the train from Paddington Station to Slough Station for a date in the countryside. Here's the pertinent excerpt:

Chapters 6 & 7:... He thought of Sunday. They were to meet at nine o'clock at Paddington Station....Gordon caught the 27 bus at ten past eight. The streets were still locked in their Sunday sleep....On the top of the bus he did mental arithmetic. Thirteen and nine in hand. Two day-returns to Slough, five bob....Rosemary met him on time. It was one of her virtues that she was never late, and even at this hour of the morning she was bright and debonair....They had the station practically to themselves. The huge grey place, littered and deserted, had a blowsy, unwashed air, as though it were still sleeping off a Saturday night debauch. A yawning porter in need of a shave told them the best way to get to Burnham Beeches, and presently they were in a third-class smoker, rolling westward....There was a sense of wild adventure in getting out of London, with the long day in 'the country' stretching out ahead of them. It was months since Rosemary and a year since Gordon had set foot in 'the country'. They sat close together with the Sunday Times open across their knees; they did not read it, however, but watched the fields and cows and houses and the empty goods trucks and great sleeping factories rolling past. Both of them enjoyed the railway journey so much that they wished it had been longer. At Slough they got out and travelled to Farnham Common in an absurd chocolate-coloured bus with no top. Slough was still half asleep. Rosemary remembered the way now that they had got to Farnham Common.... See ORWELL BIRTHDAY TYPING ASPIDISTRA

London Paddington (PAD) to Slough (SLO), Departure/Arrival Times, National Rail

Slough railway station, in Slough, Berkshire, England, is served by local services operated by First Great Western from Paddington to Reading and intercity services on the Great Western Main Line, the original line of the Great Western Railway. It is also the junction for the Windsor branch. The first section of the Great Western Railway (GWR), between the original station at Paddington and the original station at Maidenhead, opened on 4 June 1838, but although trains stopped at Slough, there was no actual station: tickets were sold at the Crown Inn. This was because the Act which authorised the construction of the GWR contained a clause which forbade the construction of a station within 3 miles of Eton College without the permission of the Provost and Fellows of the school; but it did not explicitly prevent trains from stopping for passengers. Following the repeal of the relevant clauses in the GWR Act, the first proper station at Slough opened on 1 June 1840. The arrival of the railway led to Queen Victoria making her first railway journey, from Slough to Bishop's Bridge near Paddington, in 1842...

UNDERNEATH ORWELL'S CHESTNUT TREE (...There are similarities between Winston Smith and John Winston Lennon.... Both loved and lost a woman named Julia. In John's case Julia was his mother and he wrote a very special song dedicated to her while he was still a Beatle. John, like Winston, lost his mother when he was young....)


Nineteen Eighty-Four, Part Two, Chapters 1 & 2 (...Winston was in Victory Square before the appointed time. He wandered round the base of the enormous fluted column, at the top of which Big Brother's statue gazed southward towards the skies.... He walked slowly up to the north side of the square and got a sort of pale-coloured pleasure from identifying St Martin's Church, whose bells, when it had bells, had chimed 'You owe me three farthings'.

Then he saw the girl standing at the base of the monument, reading or pretending to read a poster which ran spirally up the column.... Soon he was within arm's length of the girl.... He was next to the girl.... The girl's shoulder, and her arm right down to the elbow, were pressed against his. Her cheek was almost near enough for him to feel its warmth.

She had immediately taken charge of the situation, just as she had done in the canteen. She began speaking in the same expressionless voice as before, with lips barely moving, a mere murmur easily drowned by the din of voices and the rumbling of the trucks.

'Can you hear me?' 'Yes'. 'Can you get Sunday afternoon off'? 'Yes'. 'Then listen carefully. You'll have to remember this. Go to Paddington Station---' With a sort of military precision that astonished him, she outlined the route that he was to follow. A half-hour railway journey; turn left outside the station; two kilometres along the road; a gate with the top bar missing; a path across a field; a grass-grown lane; a track between bushes; a dead tree with moss on it. It was as though she had a map inside her head.

'Can you remember all that'? she murmured finally. 'Yes'. 'You turn left, then right, then left again. And the gate's got no top bar'. 'Yes. What time'? 'About fifteen. You may have to wait. I'll get there by another way. Are you sure you remember everything'? 'Yes'. 'Then get away from me as quick as you can'....

Winston picked his way up the lane through dappled light and shade, stepping out into pools of gold wherever the boughs parted. Under the trees to the left of him the ground was misty with bluebells. The air seemed to kiss one's skin. It was the second of May. From somewhere deeper in the heart of the wood came the droning of ring-doves. He was a bit early. There had been no difficulties about the journey.... In general you could not assume that you were much safer in the country than in London. There were no telescreens, of course, but there was always the danger of concealed microphones by which your voice might be picked up and recognized; besides, it was not easy to make a journey by yourself without attracting attention. For distances of less than 100 kilometres it was not necessary to get your passport endorsed, but sometimes there were patrols hanging about the railway stations, who examined the papers of any Party member they found there and asked awkward questions. However, no patrols had appeared, and on the walk from the station he had made sure by cautious backward glances that he was not being followed....

The lane widened, and in a minute he came to the footpath she had told him of, a mere cattle-track which plunged between the bushes. He had no watch, but it could not be fifteen yet. The bluebells were so thick underfoot that it was impossible not to tread on them. He knelt down and began picking some partly to pass the time away, but also from a vague idea that he would like to have a bunch of flowers to offer to the girl when they met. He had got together a big bunch and was smelling their faint sickly scent when a sound at his back froze him, the unmistakable crackle of a foot on twigs. He went on picking bluebells. It was the best thing to do. It might be the girl, or he might have been followed after all. To look round was to show guilt. He picked another and another. A hand fell lightly on his shoulder. He looked up. It was the girl. She shook her head, evidently as a warning that he must keep silent, then parted the bushes and quickly led the way along the narrow track into the wood. Obviously she had been that way before, for she dodged the boggy bits as though by habit. Winston followed, still clasping his bunch of flowers.... They came to the fallen tree that she had spoken of. The girl hopped over and forced apart the bushes, in which there did not seem to be an opening. When Winston followed her, he found that they were in a natural clearing, a tiny grassy knoll surrounded by tall saplings that shut it in completely. The girl stopped and turned. 'Here we are', she said...

3.Surveillance & 20.Thought Police

Jackie Jura
~ an independent researcher monitoring local, national and international events ~

email: orwelltoday@gmail.com
website: www.orwelltoday.com