David Hartley obelisk

Erection date: 1777


{Inscriptions on each of the four panels around the base of the monument: 
Panel 1:}
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.

{Panel 2:}
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 Rt. Honble. S. 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 of 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 (L S).

{Panel 3:}
By the commons of Great Britain in parliament assembled Lunae 16° Die Maii 1774 resolved nemine contradicente that a sum not exceeding two thousand five hundred pounds be granted to his majesty to be paid to David Hartley Esq. 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 confirmed by act of parliament anno 14° Georgii 3 1ii Regis.

{Panel 4:}
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.

The language on the panels becomes increasingly convoluted and some of the abbreviations and Latin require clarification.

Panel 1 - We believe that SQRE stands for Esquire.

Panel 2 - &c is an old form of Etc.
We cannot find what the initials LS stand for.

Panel 3 - The Latin translates as:
Lunae 16° Die Maii = Monday the 16th day of May.
Nemine Contradicente = With nobody contradicting.
Anno 14° Georgii 3 1ii Regis = 14th year of the reign of George III. (1ii is our best attempt at reading the inscription, and we can find no explanation for it. The entry for this monument on the PMSA website transcribes it as lu).

The text on the monument records that foundation stone was laid in November 1776 and that in March 1777 Hartley's achievements were recorded in a Guildhall book. From that it seems a fair guess that the monument was erected in 1777.

Note: Wikipedia describes this obelisk as "Obelisk erected on Putney Heath to commemorate invention of Fire insurance marks (1777)", which we think is a mistake, since Hartley was not concerned with insurance marks, and anyway, Wikipedia at its page for the marks does not name an inventor.

Site: David Hartley obelisk (1 memorial)

SW15, Kingston Road, Putney Heath

This brick memorial is near the site of the (demolished) 'fireproof' house that David Hartley built to demonstrate the efficacy of his fireproofing invention. It is in a very secluded spot, so not easily found but our pin is correct.

Credit for this entry to: Alan Patient of www.plaquesoflondon.co.uk

This section lists the subjects commemorated on the memorial on this page:
David Hartley obelisk

Subjects commemorated i

Great Fire of London

Started on a Sunday morning. After 4 days the destruction included: - an area...

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Sir Thomas Hallifax

Politician. Born in Barnsley. 1753 was one of the three founders of what beca...

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David Hartley

Politician and inventor of fireproofing systems. Born in Bath, he moved to Lo...

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Benjamin Hopkins

Chamberlain of London from 1776 to 1779. The holder of the post of Chamberlai...

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This section lists the subjects who helped to create/erect the memorial on this page:
David Hartley obelisk

Created by i

George Dance the younger

Architect. Son of the architect George Dance the Elder, one of the 4 original...

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John Sawbridge

Politician. Member of Parliament from 1768 to 1780. A supporter of John Wilke...

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