Rare HG Wells Books Sold At Auction In Chiswick

High prices raised will help pay for actor's care home


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Two rare books by HG Wells fetched three times the price expected after they were auctioned off by a family to pay care home costs.

The two first edition volumes of The Outline of History, which are hand annotated in ink by the author, sold for £1,550 at Chiswick Auctions.

The books belonged to Peter Howell, 92, an actor who starred in the first medical television soap, Emergency Ward 10, in the 50s and 60s, and most recently appeared alongside Johnny Depp in The Libertine. He also made guest appearances in The Avengers, The Prisoner, and Doctor Who.

He was one of the driving forces behind the founding of the Waterman’s Theatre in Brentford.

Mr Howell lived in Glebe Street, Chiswick, for many years and has been living at a care home in Rickmansworth for the past two years. His family found the books while organising his home and decided to sell them to pay for his care.

The specialist for books and manuscripts at Chiswick Auctions, Nicholas Worskett, said: “We didn’t really know how much the volumes would go for because they’re completely unique but I was delighted they fetched such a good price.”

He told ChiswickW4.com that the University of Illinois had expressed interest but they had now gone to a private bidder.

Mr Howell’s father, Owen Bulmer Howell, a pilot in the years before the First World War, left the two volumes and a collection of other HG Wells books to his son. Owen Howell met the author and was a member of the same left-wing think tank, the Fabian Society.

However, the contents of the books are still in the public domain, as Mr. Howell’s relative Robert Gutsell has preserved their details on a website;


September 21, 2012

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