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Edith Nesbit (1858 - 1924)

Edith was born at Kennington (formerly Surrey but now a suburb of inner London) to a family in which her father was an agricultural chemist. He died when Edith was only three years old, however. Her sister, Mary, suffered from tuberculosis which for health reasons, led to the family moving frequently around Europe; but she died of the disease in 1871. The family then settled at Halstead, Kent and subsequently Lewisham, London.

Edith met her future husband, Hubert Bland, at the age of eighteen and married in 1880. The marriage was characterised by his infidelity, however. She adopted her husband's two illegitimate children, Rosamund and John as well as bearing him three children Paul, Mary and Fabian, but the latter died aged 15 after a tonsil operation.

Both partners developed an active interest in the Fabian Society which led them jointly to edit its journal, Today. Edith wrote and lectured widely on socialism and was a guest speaker at The London School of Economics.

Edith wrote poetry and became a prolific children's author the most famous title of which was The Railway Children, but she also wrote seven novels for adults together with several short stories.

The couple moved to Eltham, London where she lived from 1899 to 1920 entertaining numerous visitors, but from 1911, she also maintained a house at Crowlink, East Sussex. Her husband having died in 1914 she married Thomas Tucker, skipper of the Woolwich ferry, in 1917.

She died at New Romney, Kent, in 1924, thought from her incessant smoking to be from lung cancer.