EDIT: If anyone can find an image of the immersive experience (especially the scene with Big Ben i'd really appreciate it) Im saying this because in most album images, they dont really look that tall like this one:

enter image description here

But then, we hear the line "One appeared above Big Ben" and Big Ben, is 315'. This fan-made picture also doesnt help because well, its fan made:

enter image description here

Then we have the immersive experience, but I only saw one video with a split second shot of Big Ben, and there are no images of it. Finally we have this from the "Life Begins Again" page:

enter image description here

  • Other than the Big Ben (Tower Clock) reference; anything else is likely to be opinion.
    – Zeiss Ikon
    Commented Jun 2, 2022 at 14:39
  • 3
    Actually the tripod in the first picture appears to be almost as tall above the water as the war ship is long - hundeds of feet. And one or moe of its legs might extend to the sea floor where it is deep enough for the ship to sail & sink in. Possibly the tripod is standing on the shore far beyond the deep water the ship is in, in which case perspective would make the tripod much taller than the ship is long. Commented Jun 2, 2022 at 14:47
  • The first two images seem pretty consistent with each other to me, meaning the tripods are ~500 feet tall. Commented Jun 2, 2022 at 15:21
  • If you're asking specifically about the Immersive Experience, maybe you should change the question to reflect that? The main page of the official site for the Immersive Experience here shows a picture of one that appears to be just behind Big Ben, it's taller than the clock face but shorter than the spire on top. And this page from the site says they are "300 foot Martian fighting machines" (Big Ben is 316 feet tall).
    – Hypnosifl
    Commented Jun 2, 2022 at 16:02
  • Also note the full lyrics and dialogue in the album can be found here, they don't give a specific height for the tripods, just say that when the journalist and soldiers were on "the road to Weybridge" (heading back to London but not yet there), the fighting machines appeared, described as "Monstrous tripods, higher than the tallest steeple, striding over the pine trees and smashing them."
    – Hypnosifl
    Commented Jun 2, 2022 at 16:11

2 Answers 2


When I went to the 30th Anniversary live showing of Jeff Wayne’s musical I bought a promotional booklet that has a bunch of behind the scenes information.

One page contains official concept art of a cylinder’s interior as well as the proportions of a fighting machine, which is noted at being 400ft high at the “knee” joints whilst the body is 100ft wide and the feet 50ft wide. It’s even shown standing next to Big Ben for reference.

Sketch of martian tripod next to Big Ben for reference.  Big Ben is annotated as "320 feet high" and the tripod is annotated with "fighting machine 400 feet" Cut-away drawing of martian cylinder buried in the ground showing the exposed top, quarters for the martians and the stored fighting machines.  A scale is provided and the cylinder is over 400 feet high.

  • 1
    Hi, welcome to SF&F! Oh, but it would be so much better if you could include some images, even if you have to take photographs with a mobile. If they're online somewhere we can help include them in your answer.
    – DavidW
    Commented Aug 29, 2022 at 17:27
  • Thanks David! I tried to upload some photos of the page but was unable to do so as they were apparently too large. I’ll see what I can do though.
    – Rarou
    Commented Aug 29, 2022 at 17:33
  • @Rarou - The site doesn't allow the uploading of images with a file size of 2MB or more. You can use image editing programs to reduce the file size of an image though, for example, by saving it in a lower quality format and/or by reducing the dimensions of the image before you save it. Commented Aug 29, 2022 at 17:42
  • @Rarou If you can upload them to any online image sharing service and include a link in your answer then people can help shrink and insert them.
    – DavidW
    Commented Aug 29, 2022 at 17:45
  • 1
    @Valorum you got this answer into my reddit feed. Nice. Commented Sep 21, 2022 at 16:54

It's first worth seeing if the musical is consistent with the book. It seems not.

From the book

And this Thing I saw! How can I describe it? A monstrous tripod, higher than many houses, striding over the young pine trees, and smashing them


“Giants in armour, sir. Hundred feet high. Three legs and a body like ’luminium, with a mighty great head in a hood, sir.”

The scene from the musical with the tripod smashing though the bridges is not in the book the nearest we see is

When, an hour later, a Martian appeared beyond the Clock Tower and waded down the river, nothing but wreckage floated above Limehouse.

The clock tower would not be Big Ben which is further upstream. It could be Southwark cathedral which is about 160 ft high. And we should note that the text says beyond not above. So the tripod may not be taller

Big Ben is about 300ft tall. So if we take the quote "One appeared above Big Ben" to be correct for the musical then the machines are at least three times higher. Big Ben did exist at the time of writing the novel so Wells could have used it for a comparison if he liked.

The 300ft figure is also quoted here https://thewaroftheworldsimmersive.com/the-experience HT Hypnosifl

If we look at the ship for comparison. The state of the art around the time the novel was written was HMS Devastation it even looks similar to the album art

hms devistation

This ship was about 300ft long. Which seems to tally. If you assume the tripod as about as tall as the ship is long.

So I think your answer is around 300ft

  • Should probably add that the ship used in the album is HMS Canpous Commented Aug 30, 2022 at 19:49

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