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Page last updated at 12:40 GMT, Tuesday, 1 February 2011
HG Wells' letter goes on display in Sevenoaks,
A cartoon of HG Wells by Alex Gurney
A cartoon of HG Wells by Alex Gurney

A letter written by HG Wells in 1934 goes on display in Sevenoaks, where he wrote The Time Machine.

In the letter the science-fiction writer turns down an offer of the freedom of the borough of Bromley.

HG Wells came to Sevenoaks for a break from life in London with Amy Catherine Robbins, who became his second wife.

The letter was first displayed at Bromley Museum last December. The exhibition is open from 5 February until June 2011 at Sevenoaks library.

"Bromley has not been particularly gracious to me nor I to Bromley and I don't think I want to add the freedom of Bromley to the freedom of the City of London and the freedom of the City of Brissago - both of which I have," wrote Herbert George Wells in 1934 in reply to a committee of dignitaries.

Growing up in Bromley

Mr HG Wells
Bromley has not been particularly gracious to me nor I to Bromley
HG Wells

HG Wells was born in 1866, the son of Joseph and Sarah Wells who ran a household goods shop in the centre of Bromley (the site is now occupied by a Primark branch).

Sue Gosling, Curator of Sevenoaks Museum said: "I think Wells associated Bromley with quite a grim time in his life.

"The family income was very small, there was the shop on ground level but the family actually spent most of the time down below in a quite dark, basement kitchen."

Also on display is a letter by Matilda Meyer, governess to HG Wells' children in which she said: "HG Wells was a warm-hearted kindly man. It was the follies and blunderings of mankind that made him irritable at times."

Writing in Sevenoaks

Amy Catherine Robbins' mother accompanied her daughter and HG Wells on their holiday to Sevenoaks.

"The landlady found out that they weren't married which was a scandal in those days so she was very hostile to them," said Sue Gosling.

HG Wells wrote The Time Machine while on holiday in Sevenoaks
HG Wells' mother wanted him to be a draper
HG Wells' father played cricket for Kent

"Wells would sit up late writing and she complained that he used too much lamp oil."

During this holiday HG Wells wrote The Time Machine which, published in 1895, was his first novel. Until then he had been writing short articles in magazines.

"There were some hiccups in the magazines taking his work so he thought that his income was drying up," said Sue Gosling.

"The Time Machine came from a story he'd tinkered with when he was a science student and he made it into a full length novel. "

The Different Worlds of HG Wells is on display at Sevenoaks Museum at the town's Library from 5 February until the end of June 2011.




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