In H G Wells’s 1911 novel, The New Machiavelli, the narrator, Richard Remington, a Cambridge fellow-turned-journalist and Liberal MP, finds himself in “one of those long apartments once divided by folding doors . . . common upon the first floors of London houses”. His hosts are Altiora and Oscar Bailey, socialist intellectuals and reformers modelled by Wells on his old friends and rivals – and the founders of this magazine – Beatrice and Sidney Webb.