Monday, September 21, 2009

The Equinox - and Thoughts About H.G. Wells

The special Sept. 21 Google home page art made me take notice, and though a futuristic writer like H.G. Wells may seem a little out of place on these pages, he remains a staple of Edwardian thought, as well as one of my favorite writers. Surprisingly, it was this photo of him (left) standing in the doorway of this nice, solid-looking English house which caught my notice, and which inspired me to take a little longer look at this writer's world.

For example, I did not know that Wells attended free lectures on socialism at Kelmscott House. I knew he was an early enthusiast of miniature wargames - I have a copy of Little Wars - and I also have the two volume set of his compact Outline of History, which I sadly admit I have not read as yet.

What really surprised me was the fact that after writing the Time Machine in 1895, Wells came to Sandgate in 1896 for the benefit of his health. Enjoying the life there, he commissioned C.F.A. Voysey to build a house in a commanding position overlooking the sea; so it follows that Wells is standing in the doorway of what clearly appears to be a Voysey house. This home (above) known as Spade House, became one of the literary centers of the world in Edwardian times. While living at Spade House, Wells wrote books such as Kipps, Tono-Bungay and Ann Veronica.

One interesting side note - it may be remembered that Voysey usually placed a signature heart motif on the door of every home he designed, but Wells reportedly did not want a heart, so the heart was replaced by a spade motif - thus the name. The house is now utilized as a nursing home.

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