Well Hall Pleasaunce
An 18th century house standing on this site before its demolition in 1931 was for 23 years the home of Edith Nesbit (1858 - 1924), author of The Railway Children. During her somewhat unusual married life here with husband Hubert Bland, a founder member of the Fabian Society, she wrote many other books including The Phoenix and the Carpet, Five Children and It and the Wouldbegoods.
Before Edith Nesbit took up residence here in 1899, there were other notable occupiers of this imposing three storey house.
The famous clock maker, John Arnold, lived here from 1779 to 1799, seeking an answer to longitude, and the Rev. Charles Fryer, vicar of St John's church at Eltham in the 1840s. The house was used as the boarding section of Well Hall School in the 1880s and their bell can still be seen on the nearby Tudor Barn.
However, Edith Nesbit, with her magic touch of writing children's stories which still live on today in television and film adaptations, is the name now most associated with Well Hall House. She loved living here in this part of South East London and especially enjoyed punting on the moat whilst entertaining her many literary friends, George Bernard Shaw and H.G. Wells among them.
In 1915 and 1916 the grounds were used for garden parties, held to raise funds for The Pioneer Women Campaigners (connected with the Woolwich Labour Party).
Hubert died at Well Hall in 1914. Three years later Edith married marine engineer Tommy Tucker known as 'Skipper', and in 1922 left Eltham for Jesson St. Mary, near Dymchurch Kent, where they had enjoyed numerous holidays exploring the countryside. It was here in 1924 that Edith died; she lies at rest at St. Mary-in-the-Marsh Church, Romney Marsh, Kent.
(top left) By virtue of an order of the Right Hon. the Lord Mayor Aldermen and Commons of the City of London in common council assembled dated the 22nd November 1776 David Hartley Esq. was admitted into the freedom of the said city in the company of goldsmiths in the time of Rt. Honble. S. Thomas Hallifax. Knt. Lord Mayor and Benjamin Hopkins Esq. Chamberlain in consideration of the advantages likely to accrue to the public by his invention of fire plates for securing buildings from fire and for his respectful attention to this city in his repeated experiments performed before many of the members of the court. The record of which experiments and also of his admission into the freedom of the said City of London is entered in the book signed with the letter R &c in witness whereof of the seal of the office of chamberlain thereunto affixed dated in the Guild Hall of the same city the 26th day of March in the 17th year of the reign of our sovereign lord George the Third &c and in the year of our lord MDCCLXXVII (L S) (top right) By the commons of Great Britain in parliament assembled Lunae 16 Die Maii 1774 resolved nemine contradicente that a sum not exceeding two thousand five hundred pounds be granted to his majesty to be paid to David Hartley Esq. towards enabling him to defray the charge of experiments in order to ascertain the practicability and utility of his invention for securing buildings from fire and that the same be paid without fee or reward confirmed by act of parliament anno 14 Georgii 3 1ii Regis. (bottom left) Hallifax Mayor a common council holden in the chamber of the Guild-Hall of the City of London on the 22nd of November 1776. Resolved that John Sawbridge Esq. the late Lord Mayor of this city having laid a foundation stone for erecting an obelisk on Putney Common to commemorate the invention of fire plates for securing buildings from fire by David Hartley Esq. The committee of city lands be empowered to erect and compleat the same. (bottom right) The Rt. Hon. John Sawbridge SQRE. Lord Mayor of London laid the foundation stone of this obelisk one hundred and ten years after the fire of London on the anniversary of that dreadful event in memory of an invention for securing buildings against fire