Jim Hawker and Daisy Hawker Wallace had no idea when they set out to move to Tunbridge Wells that Daisy’s great-grandfather, prolific turn-of-the-century author, Edgar Wallace – had previously owned the property they planned to move in to.
“We were the classic case study of a Covid family who needed more space with our children,” Jim told the Times.
The couple had already made an offer on the house when their estate agent sent them a copy of ‘The Week’ that included an article about properties on the market with literary connections, including their new Tunbridge Wells home.
Daisy’s grandfather, Michael Blair Wallace, had even grown up in the property in Mount Sion.
“Edgar Wallace bought the house for his ex-wife and children to live in, just after World War I,” Jim said, who runs a London based PR agency. “The bizarre thing is that we have some of his old furniture. Daisy inherited it.
“There is an old poker table which we have converted into a bookcase and filled with all his books. So we have brought some of his things back here.”
Wallace, a former journalist, reached international fame after writing King Kong, which went on to be one of the most successful Hollywood films of the early twentieth century, but he also wrote screen plays, poetry, historical non-fiction, 18 stage plays, 957 short stories and over 170 novels – 12 in 1929 alone.
More than 160 films have been made of his work over the years.
Not satisfied with the historic and literary connection since they moved to Tunbridge Wells, Jim says he now wants to make more of a contribution to the town and hopes to raise money for Nourish Community Foodbank with a sponsored climb of Mount Kilimanjaro this September.
“It’s a question of moving to a new place and doing something for the community,” he said.
“I’d like to raise £1,000 and have got a couple of hundred pounds’ sponsorship so far.
“I’m doing a bit of training on the Stairmaster – it’s just horrific – and also a lot of local walks, getting to know the area. This week, I’m doing part of the (23-mile) Tunbridge Wells Circular Walk. Getting to know the area has been a really nice by-product of the training.”
Jim’s charity fundraising page for his Kilimanjaro challenge is available here: JustGiving.com/fundraising/Jim-Hawker1