Author Information At the Circulating Library
Author: Thomas Mullett Ellis (1850–1919)
Biography: One of the more eccentric Victorian novelists. Thomas Mullett Ellis was born in 1850 in Manningtree, Essex, the second son of Wesleyan minister the Rev. Robert Stainton Ellis and Mary Carr. His grandfather was John Carr of Brighton. He trained as an architect and worked in that profession for fifteen years before turning to literature. He wrote a scientific work Reveries of World-History (1893) before writing several children's works and five works of ficiton. The first, The Beauty of Boscastle (1893), was undistinguished. His second novel, Zalma (1895), is an early work of science fiction in which the anarchist title character terrorizes London with anthrax delivered by airship. A later novel God is Love (1898) caused an uproar when W. H. Smith refused to circulate it because they found the title (not necessarily the story) offensive. In politics a Conservative, Ellis joined the Primrose League as an early member, helped found the halfpenny newspaper the Evening News, founded the War Emergency Committee in 1899, and unsuccessfully contested a parliament election against the Hon. Frederick Smith (heir of the Smith company) in 1900. By the turn of the century, Ellis lived at Creek House, Shepperton-on-Thames, where he had many run-ins with his neighbor Lord Buchan. In 1900, he married Elizabeth Mary Leigh Hayhurst, the second daughter of William Hayhurst of Billington. The couple had one daughter. Ellis founded and edited the short-lived poetry magazine The Thrush in the early years of the twentieth century. He died in 1919 as a result of a fall from his bicycle.
References: British Census (1881, 1891, 1901, 1911); Standard (6 July 1900); Times (23 August 1919, 25 August 1919)