TTLG Author/Illustrator Profiles

Edith Nesbit

Edith Nesbit

Edith Nesbit, the daughter of John Collis Nesbit, a schoolmaster, was born on 19th August, 1858. Nesbit ran successful schools in Bradford, Manchester and London but died when Edith was only six years old. Despite money problems, Edith's mother managed to educate her daughter in France.

At the age of nineteen, Edith Nesbit met Hubert Bland, a young writer with radical political opinions. In 1879 discovered she was pregnant and the baby was born two months after they were married on 22nd April, 1880.

Edith and Hubert were both socialists and on 24th October 1883 they decided with their Quaker friend Edward Pease, to form debating group. They were also joined by Havelock Ellis and Frank Podmore and in January 1884 they decided to call themselves the Fabian Society. Hubert Bland chaired the first meeting and was elected treasurer. Nesbit and her husband became joint editors of the society's journal, Today. Soon afterwards other socialists in London began attending meetings. This included Eleanor Marx, Annie Besant, Clementina Black, George Bernard Shaw, Sidney Webb and Beatrice Webb.

In 1885 Edith had a second child and named him Fabian. Alice Hoatson, the assistant secretary of the Fabian Society, moved in with Edith and Hubert. The following year, Alice gave birth to Hubert's baby, Rosamund. Edith accepted the situation and brought up Rosamund as her own child.

In 1885 Edith Nesbit and Hubert Bland also joined the Social Democratic Federation. However, they did not stay long as they found the views of its leader, H. H. Hyndman, too revolutionary.

Nesbit was a regular lecturer and writer on socialism throughout the 1880s. However she gave less time to these activities after she become a successful children's writer. Her most famous novels include The Story of the Treasure-Seekers (1899), The Wouldbegoods (1901), Five Children and It (1902), The Pheonix and the Carpet (1904), The New Treasurer-Seekers (1904), The Railway Children (1906) and The Enchanted Castle (1907). A collection of her political poetry, Ballads and Lyrics of Socialism, was published in 1908.

After the death of Hubert Bland in 1914, Edith married Thomas Tucker, an engineer. Edith Nesbit continued to write children's books and had published forty-four novels before her death on 4th May, 1924.