Wells came to Sandgate in 1896 for the benefit of his health; as it was to his liking, he commissioned Voysey, a well known architect, to build a house in a commanding position overlooking the sea, which became the literary centre of the world in Edwardian times.
His circle included Joseph Conrad, George Bernard Shaw, Arnold Bennett, Ford Madox Ford and Henry James, as well as political figures such as the local MP, Sir Edward Sassoon and his friend Winston Churchill.
Wells stayed for 13 happy years, enjoying the most productive period of his long career. The Sea Lady and Kipps feature the Sandgate and Folkestone area, and The First Men in the Moonhas scenes reminiscent of West Hythe nearby.
His romantic life also blossomed at this time, although it initial product, A Modern Utopia, created such a stir in the area where he had become a magistrate that he and his family upped sticks in 1909 for London.
Starting on the century of his departure in 2009, and annually thereafter, Wells Festivals in honour of his genius and those around him are being held. This has been sparked by his great fan, Reginald Turnill, formerly BBC Aerospace Correspondent, who interviewed Wells as a young reporter, and who has established a strong organising committee.
The festival is centred on The Grand, Folkestone – when William Hague arrived to give a talk on his Pitt book, he exclaimed, ‘What a wonderful building and such a magnificent setting – the perfect place for a literary festival.’
Portrait of H G Wells from a photograph taken during his Folkestone days and signed by him, executed for the Festival Committee by Pauline Fitzpatrick
Reg died in the early hours of Tuesday 12th February, just three days before the launch of the 2013 HG Wells Festival Competition.
As befitted a well known and loved journalist, news of his accomplishments appeared almost instantaneously online, and in the printed media in less than 24 hours.
It was immediately said that he would have regretted missing such a big story - but he didn´t quite - the Kent Messenger entry below is all his own work!
Reg lived in Sandgate next to Folkestone for nearly 40 years, and was the instigator of the Festival and endowed the principal £1,000 prize.
He masterminded the competition to the very end, and will be sadly missed.
Daily Telegraph 20th February 2013
Beach Cottage - initial abode 1896
Arnold House - 1896-1899
with garden running down to the beach -locale of The Sea Lady
Spade House by Voysey - 1899-1909
The Grand supports
Please give Generously