The Grove Park Community Group has produced a map of the Grove Park Heritage Trail that guides you through 13 stages of a circular trail beginning and finishing at Grove Park Station with each stage containing surprising information on the area’s history and using much of Grove Park's significant green space. It also shows how the area is believed to be the inspiration for Edith Nesbit's famous novel The Railway Children which has never been out of print and which created the famous 1970s film of the same name. Great for adults and children, it combines nature, history and the chance to run around. Free copies are available at the The Ringway community centre, Grove Park Rail Station, the Baring Hall Hotel and various other shops and locations in the area.
The Heritage Trail reflects the rich history and personalities of the area that is often unknown to many residents: Grove Park’s role in two world wars; legendary cricketer W.G. Grace; Archbishop Desmond Tutu; Herbert Morrison MP and, of course, Edith Nesbit, author of the world-famous The Railway Children and many other novels and stories besides.
The Railway Children
The trail establishes the claim for Grove Park as the ‘Home of The Railway Children’. Some may dispute the claim but, along with other clues, Nesbit’s house in Baring Road was called Three Gables and overlooked the railway line; In ‘The Railway Children’ the house they lived in was called Three Chimneys and overlooked the railway line.
Edith Nesbit (1858 – 1924) lived in Three Gables (sadly now demolished) in Baring Road, Grove Park, south east London for around 5 years at the end of the 19th century. She was considered by her biographer to be the first modern writer for children and her books include The Story of The Treasureseekers, Five Children and It, The Phoenix and the Carpet, The Story of the Amulet, The House of Arden, The Enchanted Castle and, of course, The Railway Children. She was not only a prolific author but also a social campaigner who was a founder member of The Fabian Society, which launched the Labour Party. Her husband Hubert Bland chaired the first meeting of The Fabians and was duly elected as treasurer. She had many literary friends including the literary giants HG Wells and George Bernard Shaw.
Please find below information on Nesbit, Wells, Shaw, W.G. Grace and Archbishop Tutu on their wikipedia pages and a link to some excerpts from The Railway Children film of 1970:
Edith Nesbit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E._Nesbit
HG Wells: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H._G._Wells
George Bernard Shaw: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Bernard_Shaw
Archbishop Desmond Tutu: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Desmond_Tutu