As we gear up for the first performance of Creation Theatre’s The Time Machine on 29th February, we’ve been exploring our membership records to unearth some of the many links HG Wells had with the Library during his 50-year membership.

Wells joined the Library on 9th April 1896 a year after his first novel The Time Machine had been serialised in the New Review and then published in book form to international acclaim.

It was an extraordinarily productive period in his life – he’d already largely written the Invisible Man and his third novel The Island of Dr Moreau appeared in the same month he became a Library member.

Many of Wells' contacts from that time became Library members. In September 1896, WE Henley Editor of the New Review and the man responsible for serialising the Time Machine joined the Library. Wells had dedicated The Time Machine to him and he became a regular at Wells’ social gatherings.

In the same year, Wells also began correspondence with the emerging novelist Joseph Conrad. Conrad joined the Library in 1897 and along with novelist Henry James the trio become regular visitors to their respective Kentish seaside homes.

In 1902 we see Lewis Hind joining the Library. As editor of The Pall Mall Budget he had given Wells his first big break, publishing 36 of his short stories in 1894. Also in 1902 Wells nominated Sidney Bowkett as a Library member. Bowkett was his great school friend from the age of eight – the pair lost touch but met up by accident in 1898 and their friendship resumed.

One of the most striking membership records is that of Cicily Fairfield, who under the pen name Rebecca West went on to become a highly celebrated writer, a Dame and a Library vice-president, remaining a Library member until her death in 1983.

Wells met the 20-year-old Fairfield in 1912 after the pair agreed to have lunch following her dismissive review of one of his articles. The following year they begin a relationship and by November 1913 Fairfield was pregnant and the couple were talking of living together under assumed names. (Their son, Anthony West was born in August 1914).

Rebecca West joined the Library in January 1914 – her application form is seconded by HG Wells.