Calling a Heart a Spade: Wells and Voysey’s Kentish Utopia
The Wells House Nursing Home stands on a hilltop in Sandgate – a prosperous and attractive seaside village on the borders of Folkestone in Kent – with fine views over the village and the coastline. Wells House – previously Spade House – was built in 1899-1900 to the designs of two men: C.F.A. Voysey, the house’s architect, and Voysey’s client, H.G. Wells.
Wells came to be in Sandgate, and to commission Voysey, as a result of a combination of illness and literary friendship. In 1896 Wells had befriended the ailing novelist George Gissing, and, when Wells’s own chronic kidney condition led to his collapse during a cycling holiday along the south coast in 1898, it was Gissing’s childhood friend, Dr Henry Hick, who became Wells’s personal physician. Continue reading