Author reveals his early torture

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MEMORIAL UNVEILING SUNDAY 20, AUGUST 2017

Part of the memorial to be unveiled in Guildhall Square next Sunday at 2pm.

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On this day in 1946 HG Wells died.

His autobiography reveals that when he was a draper’s apprentice, working at Southsea Drapery Emporium in King’s Road between 1881 and 1883, he was so unhappy he thought about killing himself.

He wrote: ‘Among other things, during that dismal two years, I had thought out some very fundamental problems of conduct.

‘I had really weighed the possibilities of the life before me, and when I used suicide as a threat to shake my mother’s opposition to my liberation, it was after a considerable amount of meditation along the Southsea seafront and Portsmouth Hard. I did not think suicide an honourable resort, but it seemed to me a lesser evil than acquiescence.

‘The cool embrace of swift-running, black deep water on a warm summer night couldn’t be as bad crib [job] hunting or wandering about the streets with the last of one’s courage gone...

‘Why should I torture myself to earn a living, any old living? If the living isn’t good enough, why live? Not perhaps with that much virility did I think at the time, but in that fashion, I was beginning to think’ – from John Sadden’s The Portsmouth Book of Days.