Finding HG

One may have thought, for all the tourist things I’ve been doing, that I’m not doing my research. But it’s easy to show I’m working on HG Wells, since he is everywhere. I bought a copy of Christina Alberta’s Father at a second-hand bookshop. I have a copy of The Sea Raiders in my purse. And, of course, there are the plaques:

HG Wells plaque, Chiltern Court, Baker Street

This one is right next to the entrance to the Baker Street tube.

According to The Independent, HG hosted a book club here in a flat, and a lot of other famous people are associated with it as well. Apparently Wells lived here between 1930 and 1936 (not a period I’m studying).

And then, of course, there’s the rabbit hole of information they call the British Library. They have a tendency to be open till 8 pm, making it possible to miss dinner (always a crime in my opinion). Since you cannot bring water or food into the reading rooms, I easily dehydrate since I get too absorbed in my work to leave my table and go outside the area, taking my card to get back in, to get a sip at the drinking fountain or have a meal at the lovely restaurant.

British Library restaurant

I suppose if I dessicate completely, they can just cart me down the road to the British Museum and put me with the mummies.

My task yesterday was to take a peek at a few journals, to see if a periodical research project is viable. But while flipping through one of them, I noticed an item mentioned that in another journal, HG Wells had recently written a piece on text-books. Now, I thought I had all of his pieces on textbooks. I ordered it, meaning I’ll have to return in two days, the day before I leave, just to scan it.

After leaving the reading room (it had been six hours with only one tea break), I went to the News Room, because I couldn’t remember where one could access the British Newspapers Archive. They told me you could access it in all the reading rooms, but theirs was the best, because obviously it was the News room.

You can search the newspaper database online, but unless you pay you cannot access the newspapers. Except at the British Library, where it’s free. And you can print, for 28p per page.

Ah, search terms. “H.G. Wells”. Funny, doesn’t seem like enough came up — only a few dozen items. “H. G. Wells”. What a difference a space makes! And you can limit the search to years: 1880-1899.

Now: “University Correspondence College”. Just the same articles on Briggs’ legal tangle that I saw last time. “Correspondence study”. A few items of interest. “Correspondence college”. A few more. “Samuel J. Tildesley” (I’ve seen him in ads before, for a correspondence college in Edinburgh). Oh! He went bankrupt, even before the ads I’ve seen. The only thing more fun to research than a successful business venture is one that was unsuccessful…


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