National Recording Project


Detail from: Memorial to 158 Squadron by Peter W. Naylor, 2009

Obelisk to David Hartley, Kingston Rd., Putney Heath


Type Shaft

     Obelisk, with a brick shaft, stone top and stone pedestal, the latter bearing inscriptions on all four faces. The LCC, in 1910, described the present obelisk as 'about 50 feet high, of bricks faced with cement, with stone top'. Dorothy Stroud, writing in 1971, stated that 'the upper part of the obelisk has been replaced in brick'. Unless the LCC's information was completely inaccurate, the original shaft has been replaced (as Stroud suggests) by a much shorter one, the overall estimated height being no more than 25 feet, half the LCC's estimate
          'Commemorates the experimental 'fire-proof house' erected here in 1776 by David Hartley, which had iron and copper plates between the doors'. London County Council (1910), says the obelisk was in the 'grounds of "Wildcroft" and that it was maintained by the owner of that house. Listed Grade II July 1955. De-listed by English Heritage.


- South face (towards the A3): THE RT. HON. JOHN SAWBRIDGE SQRE / LORD MAYOR OF LONDON / LAID THE FOUNDATION STONE / OF THIS OBELISK / ONE HUNDRED AND TEN YEARS / AFTER THE FIRE OF LONDON / ON THE ANNIVERSARY / OF THAT DREADFUL EVENT / IN MEMORY OF AN INVENTION / FOR SECURING BUILDINGS / AGAINST FIRE. - East face: By VIRTUE of an ORDER of the Right Hon. the / LORD MAYOR ALDERMEN and COMMONS of / the CITY of LONDON in Common Council / Assembled Dated the 22nd. November 1776 / DAVID HARTLEY Esq. was admitted into the FREEDOM / of the said CITY in the COMPANY of GOLDSMITHS / in the time of the Rt. Hon Sr. THOMAS HALLIFAX KNt. / LORD MAYOR and BENJAMIN HOPKINS ESQ CHAMBERLAIN / in CONSIDERATION of the ADVANTAGES likely to accrue to the / PUBLIC by his INVENTION of FIRE PLATES for securing / buildings from FIRE and for his respectful attention to this CITY / in his repeated EXPERIMENTS performed before many of the / members of the COURT. The RECORD of which EXPERIMENTS / and also of his admission into the FREEDOM of the said CITY of / LONDON is entered in the BOOK signed with the letter R["¦?]c / IN WITNESS whereof the SEAL of the Office of CHAMBERLAIN / thereunto affixed DATED in the GUILD-HALL of the same / CITY the 26th. day of March in the 17th. Year of the Reign of /Our SOVEREIGN LORD GEORGE the THIRD &c / And in the Year of Our LORD MDCCLXXVII - North Face (towards the car park and public house): By the COMMONS of GREAT BRITAIN / IN PARLIAMENT ASSEMBLED / 2E Lunœ 16° Die Maii 1774 / RESOLVED NE MINE CONTRADICENTE / That a sum not exceeding Two Thousand Five Hundred / Pounds be granted to His MAJESTY to be paid / To DAVID HARTLEY, ESQR. / Towards enabling him to defray the Charge of / Experiments in order to ascertain the practicability / and Utility of his INVENTION for securing buildings / from FIRE and that the same be paid without Fee / or Reward / [space] / Confirmed by ACT of Parliament / ANNO 14° GEORG II 3lu REGIS - West face: HALLIFAX MAYOR / A COMMON COUNCIL holden / in the Chamber of the GUILD-HALL of the / CITY of LONDON on the 22nd. of November 1776 / RESOLVED. / That JOHN SAWBRIDGE ESQ. the late / LORD MAYOR of this CITY having laid a / Foundation Stone for erecting an Obelisk on / Putney Common to commemorate the invention / of FIRE PLATES for securing buildings from FIRE / By DAVID HARTLEY ESQ / The Committee of City Lands be empowered / to erect and compleat the same.

Contributor details

Contributor Role
Dance, George Architect

Element details

Part of work Material Dimensions
Shaft Stone 532 (h) (east)
Pedestal and Platform Stone 231 (h)
Overall None 763 (h) (east)

PMSA recording information

Reference Region
General condition Poor
Surface condition
  • Abrasions, cracks, splits
  • Biological growth
  • Metallic staining
Structural condition
  • Graffiti
Road Putney Heath, facing Kingston Rd.
Precise location On Putney Heath, north-east of Wildcroft Manor
A-Z ref 90 A7
OS ref None

Sorry, we have no precise geographical information for this item.

Date of design 1776-88
Year of unveiling None
Unveiling details None
Commissioned by The Committee of City Lands - Lord Mayor of London
Duty of care Wimbledon and Putney Common Conservators
Listing status II
At risk? At Risk

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