Monday, March 27, 2006

Flying Carpet over New Cross

Edith Nesbit was one of the most popular children's authors of the early 20th century, as well as an interesting socialist, feminist and general bohemian. Most famously she was responsible for The Treasure Seekers and The Railway Children (filmed starring Jenny Agutter, who in another south London connection, now lives in Camberwell). E. Nesbit lived in various parts of SE London, and her books feature a number of local locations, including in The Phoenix and the Carpet (1904) a flying carpet adventure accompanied by said Phoenix:

"On and on the carpet swept, still keeping much nearer to the chimney-pots than the children found at all comfortable. And then, just over New Cross, a terrible thing happened... both Robert and Jane suddenly, and at once, made a bound to try and get on to the safer part of the carpet, and the darn gave way and their boots went up, and the heavy heads and bodies of them went down through the hole, and they landed in a position something between sitting and sprawling on the flat leads on the top of a high, grey, gloomy, respectable house whose address was 705, Amersham Road, New Cross.

The carpet seemed to awaken to new energy as soon as it had got rid of their weight, and it rose high in the air. The others lay down flat and peeped over the edge of the rising carpet... 'Stop!' cried the Phoenix; 'the carpet is dropping to earth.' And indeed it was. It sank swiftly, yet steadily, and landed on the pavement of the Deptford Road. It tipped a little as it landed, so that Cyril and Anthea naturally walked off it, and in an instant it had rolled itself up and hidden behind a gate-post. It did this so quickly that not a single person in the Deptford Road noticed it'.

1 comment:

Andrew Simpson said...

Well here is another Edith book to add to the list along with the Red House which I downloaded yesterday and have almost finished, the Treasure Seekers and of course the Railway Children