H.G. Wells - the man

Herbert George "H.G." Wells - 21.09.1866 — 13.08.1946




Herbert   George Wells was born on the 21   September 1866 in Bromley, Kent. Called “Bertie” in the family, he was the fourth and last child of Joseph   Wells a former domestic gardener and at the time a shopkeeper and   professional cricketer for Kent and Sarah Neal a domestic servant.


A defining incident of young Wells's life was an   accident in 1874 that left him   bedridden with a broken leg. To pass the time he started reading books from the   local library, brought to him by his father. He soon became devoted to the   other worlds and lives to which books gave him access; they also stimulated   his desire to write. Charles Dickens   was one of his favourite authors. 


Joseph Wells had an accident that left him with a   fractured thigh. The accident effectively put an end to his career as a   cricketer and his earnings as a shopkeeper were not enough to compensate for   the loss forcing him to apprentice   his sons.


Aged 12, Wells wrote an illustrated comic book The Desert Daisy.


Attended Thomas   Morley's Commercial Academy in Bromley.


H.G. Wells served a series of apprenticeships in drapery shops in   Windsor and Southsea and a pharmacist in Midhurst.


Became a   teacher/pupil at Midhurst Grammar   School in Sussex


He won a   scholarship to the Normal School of   Science in London [now Imperial College, London] where he studied biology   under Thomas H. Huxley, one of the most   influential scientific thinkers of the Victorian age responsible for   popularising Charles Darwin's theory of evolution. However, Wells’ interest   in his studies faltered, and in 1887 he left without a degree. 


Taught in North Wales, and then London.


Teacher at Henley House, where he taught A.A. Milne, the creator of the Winnie-the-Pooh stories, proving his star pupil.


Wells returned to study to gain a London   University B.Sc. Hons. degree in zoology and geology plus a teacher’s   diploma.


Wells settled in London, married his cousin Isabel Wells and continued his career as teacher in a   correspondence college. In 1893 illness forced him to give up teaching;   decided to become a professional writer working initially principally as a   journalist.


Wells left   Isabel for one of his brightest students Amy   Catherine,known as “Jane”.


Divorced   Isabel; following a further bout of ill-health in May 1895, Wells, aged 28,   moved to Woking, he was still a   new young writer making his way in the literary world.  His first science fiction novel, The Time Machine, was published soon   after his arrival in Woking. He married Amy Catherine Robbins in October   1895. See Panel on Wells in Woking for more detail about his stay in woking.


Moved from   Woking to a larger house in Worcester   Park, Surrey during late Summer.


Moved to   Beach Cottage in Sandgate, Kent   for health reasons. While living in Sandgate he moved to two further houses   overlooking the ocean, namely Spade House (designed by C.F.A. Voysey)  and the house in Castle Road. His two sons   George Phillip (Gip) and Frank Richard were born while living here. As well   as the improvement in his health, the family’s stay in Sandgate was generally   a happy one and Wells and his sons would invent war games that were played   out on the floor. Wells even found time to explain the rules in two booklets   called Little Wars and Floor Games.


His   first visit to the US took place in 1906 where he met President Theodore   Rooseveldt. He was also active in the Fabian Society during this   period. Wells’ daughter Anna-Jane is born to Amber   Reeves in 19090, daughter of associates of Wells in the Fabian Society. Wells   became the first president of the Royal College of Science Association (an   organization he helped to set up) in 1909. He leaves Sandgate in 1909.


At   the outbreak of war Wells was involved in a love affair with a young   journalist Rebecca West, 26. His son Anthony West is born from Rebecca West.


Meets   Lenin on a visit to Soviet Union


Ran   as a Labour Party candidate for London University


Death   of Jane, his second wife.


Visit   to the Soviet Union and meeting with Joseph Stalin. During the early 1930’s  H.G. Wells became a diabetis. Co-founded   with  Dr. R. Lawrence the Diabetic   Association (now Diabetes UK)


Met   President Franklin D.Rooseveldt on visit to USA


Awarded   DSc by the University of London


Having   lived in Central London throughout the Second World War, Wells died in   Regent’s Park, London on the 13 August   1946, aged 79.