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The Railway Children Lady

    by Derek Webb


Drama Play Script: 'The Railway Children Lady' by Derek Webb

Forever remembered as the author of ‘The Railway Children’ and a host of other children’s books, Edith Nesbit was testimony to the maxim that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. Prolific novelist and poet, and co-founder of the Fabian Society with her husband Hubert Bland, Edith Nesbit was to the world at large a figure of conventional, if progressive, tastes.

In the relative privacy of her home she was the Bohemian duchess, obsessive searcher of occult mysteries, chain-smoking mother to five children, two of whom were actually those of her philandering husband’s mistress, Alice Hoatson, who came to live with them. Edith herself was lover of George Bernard Shaw – and later an ever-younger string of adoring young men.

This contrast between the public figure – author of lyrical poetry and children’s stories – and the private, often outlandish individual, makes the story of Edith Nesbit fascinating drama. Did she have any real regard for the rigid social conventions of the time. Were her young lovers simply a way of getting back at Hubert? Was the fantasy world she created in her children’s books, as much of an escape for her from the life she found herself in.

‘The Railway Children Lady’ looks at Edith Nesbit over a period of three decades, from her childhood, to her first taste of success, to a period when she remarries and, one hopes, she eventually finds true happiness. We meet the people in her life, the influence they had on her, and she on them, exploring her strengths and frailties, and what drove her to be such an influential and successful author.


100 mins approx


(7m, 4f, 1Jnr-f) Can be played by 4m, 4f, 1Jnr-f

  • Edith Nesbit - playing ages 39, 49 and 59
  • Oswald Barron 30s
  • Woman reader any age
  • Young Edith teens
  • Hubert Bland - 40s-50s
  • Alice Hoatsen 30s-40s
  • George Bernard Shaw 30s
  • Noel Griffiths 30s
  • Richard Le Gallienne 20s-30s
  • H G Wells 40s
  • Wallis Budge 40s-50s
With voices of three children

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