Eleven Random Tidbits you probably didn’t know about H.G. Wells’ early life:
1. Herbert George Wells was born September 21, 1866 in Bromley, England.
2. His parents ran a shop called Atlas House, featuring a lampstand of the Greek god Atlas carrying the globe. The shop was located at 47 High Street in Bromley. Bromley is now a suburb of London, but at the time was a cozy little village of about 5,000 people.
3. H.G. Wells nicknames included Bertie, the Buzzwacker, Busswuss and Buss.
4. While still a small child, Wells once threw a fork at his older brother, Frank. The fork stuck in Frank’s forehead and left a mark visible for more than a year.
5. Wells’ father, Joe, fancied himself a professional cricket player. He took 7-yr-old H.G. with him to a match and the landlord’s adult son threw him up in the air. Wells landed on a tent peg, breaking his leg. During his convalescence, Wells started reading. He most enjoyed accounts of foreign lands and their fauna, along with war stories. Among his favorites were Washington Irving and later on, fictional tales of the Wild West.
6. Wells wrote his first book around the age of 12 – The Desert Daisy, a parody featuring kings who love war, their inept generals and dishonest clergy. Wells’ first written show of disdain for Establishment figures.
7. In June 1880, at the age of 13, Wells left school – his parents could not afford it.
8. In the summer of 1880, Wells was sent to be a drapery apprentice with the shop of Rodgers and Denyer on Windsor High Street, where the Royal Family reportedly ordered their drapes. Uninterested in the drapery business, he frequently read books or solved math problems under the cash desk. When his trial month ended, Rodgers and Denyer asked him to leave.
9. Wells next post – at age 14 – was as something of a teaching assistant for a distant uncle, Alfred Williams at the National School in Somerset. Though he loved learning, Wells was not prepared to be a teacher. Some of his students were his age and Wells’ disciplinary tactics left much to be desired.
10. Teenage Wells both lived and worked with his colorful uncle Alfred, who had lost an arm, its stump ending in a pirate hook; except at meal times when he would unscrew the hook and replace it with a fork.
11. Wells’ only sister, Fanny, died in 1864 at the age of nine, a full two years before H.G. was born. So the Warehouse 13 idea, that H.G. might have been a woman?…. Never let the facts get in the way of a good story!