HG Wells and Spade House

Wells purchased a plot of land off the Radnor Crescent which commanded wonderful views across the village, the bay to Hythe and the Channel to France. From his newly leased property in Castle Road, Wells was able to oversee the construction of Spade House and the realisation of Voysey's penchant for expressing the values and ideals of the middle class.

Simplicity was his mantra and, in direct contrast to the hitherto Victorian fussiness, his design was on simple lines comprising a two-storey building built into the sloping site under a high pitched roof of plain clay tiles. Rough cast stucco covered the white walls and buttresses with horizontal groupings of windows with square stone mullions and leaded lights.

The grandfather of a previous vicar of St Paul's Church in Sandgate and local builder, William Dunk, was contracted to the build the house in 1900 for £1,760 although constant changes eventually pushed the price up to beyond £3,000. The agreed layout of the house was based on very functional criteria.

In the likely case, at that time, that Wells would be permanently disabled from his illness, the living rooms and bedrooms were all on one level as was his library and study. In addition there were no picture rails or skirting boards to gather dust and, at garden level, the basement housed the kitchen, scullery and more than ample storage for the family's cycles; cycling being a favourite recreational pastime.

An early novel The Wheels of Chance involved cycling adventures in the southern home counties. Bicycling featured prominently in many of his early novels often symbolizing the emancipation of the ordinary man.

Voysey's trademark was a heart incorporated somewhere into the house's design and, in the case of Spade House, on the door. H. G. Wells insisted that it was inverted which gave it another playing card suit appearance thus the name it was to become known.