Monday, 3 August 2015

Batemans

On Sunday we went to Batemans in East Sussex.  Batemans is, of course!, a National Trust property and was the home of the writer and poet Rudyard Kipling.  You may know his famous works the Just So Stories or The Jungle Book amongst many others.

I have had a copy of the Just So Stories since I was a fairly small child, and I still have the copy of the book, although it is many years since I read it.  My favourite work of Kiplings is his poem If.  I often quote sections of it to myself during difficult times.  Although my newer mantra is "let it go" which I sing under my breath, my favourite words to turn to are from If.

I was therefore very excited to go to Batemans to see Kiplings home. 

I could not get any photos of the outside of the house without lots of people in them, so we start our journey inside the hallway.


The house was built in 1634 and was bought by Rudyard Kipling and his wife Caroline in 1902 and they lived there until they died, Rudyard in 1936 and Caroline just a few years later in 1939.


Then we move on to the Parlour.


Do you have any ideas what the object below is?  It is not that large, and is sitting on a table.  I will give the answer at the bottom of the post!



Rudyard is a very unusual name as you can imagine.  Many people think that Lake Rudyard near Leek is name after him, but in fact, he is named after the lake.  The lake was named after someone else whose surname was Rudyard.  Confused yet....

These two photos are of the painting of Rudyard Lake which hangs in the Parlour.



In Elsie Kipling's Sitting Room - Elsie was Rudyard's daughter - there is another beautiful fireplace - seen above.

I thought that the crafters amongst you would also enjoy seeing this beautiful stiching.



There were many lovely details in the carving and the doors, but difficult to get photos of.




All around the house were many paintings and other renderings of Kipling, such as the bust above by Patrick Synge-Hutchinson and the painting below.



The stairs were very ornately carved, but very dark for photos.  Sadly the West Bedroom was closed, but this amusing notice was pinned to the door.




The best room in the house as far as I was concerned was Kipling's study.  It was filled with books - mostly reference material - and other writing paraphernalia and all the sorts of things that you might expect to see in the study of a man from the early 1900's, and especially one born in India as Kipling was.

You can just make out the waste paper basket overflowing with screwed up sheets of paper.  That is what you would seen strewn around my chair if it wasn't for the fact that I write on a computer and can just press delete!!





Although some of the items are not quite to our taste today - below for example - they show the life that he led and the background that he came from and all add to the story.


I did not know that Kipling had been awarded The Nobel Prize for Literature in 1907.  You can see his medal for that top left in this picture along with some of the other awards received during his lifetime.



One of the stories in the Just So Stories tells of how the alphabet was made.  The person in the story who was told about the alphabet, Taffy, and the person telling the story, Tegumai, made a necklace to represent all the letters.  Above, you can see the necklace, and the drawing of it which appears in the story.  This picture appears in my own copy of the book too!  I was very pleased to see this indeed.



You may also know that Kipling's son, John, died during WW1, there was a small exhibition dedicated to him as well.


The bed below is in John's bedroom.  It was not kept as a shrine in any sort of way to him, so the room is just a recreation of how it might have been.  I did love this beautifully quilted bed cover.





You then make your way back downstairs via a very steep staircase with very shallow steps to the dining room.



The wallcovering is leather which was though to hold onto food smells less than wallpaper did!


Finally, you exit the house through the kitchen.



Although this shot of the stove makes it look like a dollshouse set, this is really the stove in the kitchen.



Kipling owned a Rolls Royce car which has now been loaned as an exhibit to the Trust, it is behind glass though so you cannot get very good pictures - sorry!




The gardens are beautiful, and well worth a wander around!








Although we had a very good visit, the house is very interesting and the gardens are pretty too, and I would definitely recommend it to anyone - especially the enormous flapjacks in the tea room - it was incredibly busy on the day that we went and there was also a WW1 event going on which I had not seen notice of anywhere on their website page.  If we had know that the WW1 event was going to be happening we would have gone on a different day.  Spending the day listening to gunshots and cannon fire isn't my personal first choice of things to do.

Because of this our visit was quite rushed and we could not linger due to the numbers of visitors.  That isn't to say anything against the house, just that I wish that we could have spent longer there.

I also felt that the guidebook was not the best, it lacked a lot of information, many things were skimmed over and overall I felt that a better job could have been done.

I know that I am perhaps overly critical because of what I "do", but I think that I am fairly objective, and I know, for example, that a notice can be put on the website page giving details of a particular event taking place to let visitors know.

Please don't think that I am speaking badly, just truthfully, and also you now know that I don't just rave about everything being good all the time!

Do go to visit the house if you are ever in the area though, but go on a weekday and when there is not another event going on and you will enjoy it far more I am sure.  Oh, and definitely get one of the flapjacks!

Amy

p.s. the answer to the quiz question - the object is a Cheese Coaster.  It was to hold a large round of cheese!

p.p.s some of you have also asked about the National Trust and my work, I am working on a post about that!

55 comments:

  1. Very interesting, thanks for the tour.

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  2. Fab post as usual Amy !
    We used to live near here, I found parts of the house very sad too!
    Best daisy j xxxx
    PS: I know its not a NT property but have you ever been to Charleston? They have just made a film about the 'bloomsbury set' too!
    xx

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  3. It seems very much a family home...a quality sometimes lacking in 'famous' houses.
    Jane x
    PS I thought the mystery object was a banana tray.

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  4. It looks like a fascinating place, but unfortunately quite a distance from me.

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  5. I suppose Mr Kipling (I want to say, makes exceedlingly good cakes, but I won't! LOL) maybe felt glad he was named after that lake and didn't end up being called "Windermere" or "Derwent Water" or even "Ness"! That would have been monstrous!

    Made myself giggle there! Sorry about that! :oD

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  6. I enjoyed your visit there and the photos. My favorite is the desk with his writing things.. I could happily sit there and write. I need to set up my writing things on my newly cleaned desk! ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

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  7. What a wonderful place, I could move in tomorrow. I read somewhere that Kipling's son Jack failed his Army physical and that his Father "pulled strings" to get him into the service so he could fight in WWI. It must have devastated him when the boy was killed.
    Love his study, makes you want to sit down and try to write a story.

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  8. Such an amazing place to visit with so much history.
    Hugs,
    Meredith

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  9. Hi Amy :)

    I have the "If" poem on my mantel. It's wonderful and I'm so happy to have seen the home of the author that wrote it. Thank you so much! He certainly lived beautifully :)

    xo,
    rue

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  10. Aw Amy I try twice to let a comment but something happens!
    I love this house beautiful and interesting!
    And always love yours tours:)))
    Hugs
    xoxo

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  11. Hi Amy! Oh, thank you for the wonderful tour of Mr. Kipling's home! I loved it and the grounds are so pretty too.
    Be a sweetie,
    Shelia ;)

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  12. Wow! Amazing! What a very interesting place. Thank you for sharing your pictures; I don't know that I'll ever get to England. Sorry it was so crowded because of the other event; maybe it will be quieter next time.

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  13. You know that I am a fan of old houses too! I would love to see this place, but since that's not likely, I really enjoyed my tour with you. The study is my favorite too. I would never have guess the cheese coaster. :)

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  14. Oh Amy, I have been to Bateman's a few times and I love it too!
    I love his desk facing out to the garden, it is such a pretty view!
    And if you ever get to Burwash, make sure you get to The Bear, it is a pub that Rudyard Kipling visited. The food is wonderful and the views from the back garden there are very pretty too.
    Thanks for this post, you have reminded me that I need to do a post about Burwash. Richard has a friend who lives there! xx

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  15. Terrific photos of your visit. Mike and I have been members of N.T. for years but have never managed to get to Batemans. It will definitely be on the "to do" list now.

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  16. Hi Amy - we visited Bateman's last summer and had similar problems with the number of visitors - there's so much to take in in the house but you constantly feel that you're not allowed to linger in rooms as there are so many people behind you trying to get a look also. The gardens are gorgeous too - especially the long pond outside. It's an enchanting spot. (If ever you do come to visit Wakehurst or Nymans or Standen let me know and we could meet up in the tearoom!) Love Judy.

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  17. How I would love to sit in that study and browse through all that fascinating stuff !
    Lovely post, Amy, you spoil us with your tourguide-blogposts of NT properties !!

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  18. Smashing Amy, just my cup of tea! Is that floral wallpaper really leather? Fancy that. x

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  19. A very interesting post, Amy. It is interesting to see the decor, many objects and furniture have an Indian or Oriental appearance, yet the total of it looks very British to me as well! Love the leather wall covering. Thank you for sharing it all. xx

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  20. Thank you for sharing your visit. It looks a fascinating place, and I shall have to add it to my must-see list!

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  21. We were near Bateman's a few years ago but sadly did not have time to visit - the house is very atmospheric and the walled garden looks charming.
    I imagine it is probably best to visit during the week when the schools are not on holiday

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  22. A lovely tour, so much history. Loved all those books, what a delight.

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  23. Hey Amy,
    I love the book lined study. I'd love a room of my own one day; it too will be book lined, with a fireplace and possibly a cheese coaster.
    Leanne xx

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  24. It is several years since we visited Batemans and I loved it! In those days we weren't permitted to take photos, but of course, this is now permitted provided one doesn't use flash. And, not that far away, if I recall, there are also Scotney Castle (lovely gardens) and Smallhythe? We never made it to Smallhythe, but I loved Scotney.
    I shall now look forward to a piece on your work with the NT.
    Margaret P

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  25. PS Amy, I know how you feel about the NT guidebooks. The more modern ones are heavy on photos and light on information. Over the years, whenever I'd been in 2nd hand bookshops I have always sought out early guidebooks to NT properties and have found the opposite, loads of information and fewer photos. So seek out older guidebooks (of course, in some instances the information has been changed through later knowledge of a subject, or 'improved' upon, but generally speaking the older the guidebook, the more information there is.
    Margaret P

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  26. I suddenly want a cheese coaster very badly! Great to visit Rugyard Kipling's house with you Amy, thanks for taking us along with you X

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  27. Lovely Amy. Thaks for the tour of the house and garden. It is much appreciated by those of us who live far away. Take care.

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  28. Nice tour of a great property, Amy. great photos. We enjoyed visiting it and it was fun posting about it - he was certainly an interesting man. If anyone wants to know more about his son and the strings RK pulled to get him into the army, the film 'My Boy Jack' is quite good.

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  29. Wonderfullplace to visit, nice tour and wonderfull fotos
    Greeting from Mons Belgium
    Blog ma ville my city Mons Be http://louisette.eklablog.com

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  30. I've never visited so really appreciate your post and pictures and your focus on the small details. I was planning to have a cake free day but now all I can think about is flapjacks!

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  31. This looks like a fantastic place to visit Amy and certainly one D would enjoy.

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  32. I really enjoyed this post! I'm not all that keen on the houses themselves when I visit NT properties (I'm all about the outdoors!) but I do love writer's home and lots of books so I think I would like this one, house and all! I knew that Kiplings parents named him after Rudyard Lake after they visited it and loved it - Rudyard Lake is only a few miles from me and my friend lives in Rudyard so it's somewhere I have walked quite a few times (it's been on my blog quite a bit too - just search the blog for Rudyard, hehe!)

    Lovely photos and a very interesting place.

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  33. Truly beautiful.
    Treasures like those are just not made like that anymore.
    I love the details and carvings in the wood.
    Woolie Blessings

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  34. We visited Bateman's on a freezing cold Tuesday at the end of March and had the house and gardens to ourselves apart from room stewards and volunteer gardeners so it is lovely to see your high summer photos of the gardens. I think most NT properties get unbearably busy on summer weekends regardless of whether they have a special event. My son worked as a Visitor Services Assistant at our local property, Polesden Lacey, for the last two summer seasons where 3000+ visitors a day was not unusual. But I cycle up on a midweek morning outside of school holidays and it is lovely and quiet. As Lazy Daisy Jones said I'm sure you would love Charleston and the other NT property I really like is Ellen Terry's house at Smallhythe. "If" is a favourite poem of mine too, only last week I listened to my son's best friend read it at his father's funeral. It is very easy to understand why it was voted the Nation's favourite poem of the twentieth century. I wonder if you've read Puck of Pook's Hill by RK or know the poem "What If" by Benjamin Zephaniah.

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  35. You are so fortunate to live in a country so rich in history. His house is so ornate. When I walk I personally like to walk 10 miles an hour....LOL. Beautiful. Thanks.

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  36. I love the kitchen best, all that crockery!
    Thank you for the tour, good tour guide! I enjoyed it very much!

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  37. Oh, how wonderful, Amy - I love your photo of the two chairs in the kitchen it looks like a painting. Was the television play 'My Boy Jack' filmed there? It was very moving with David Haig as Kipling and Daniel Radcliffe as Jack. So sad that Kipling actually used his influnce to get his son into the army after he failed his medical and he was killed. Rudyard Lake isn't far from where we live and we have walked there quite often. Rudyard's father and mother met whilst in Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent where he was designing the frontage for the Wedgwood Institute. They spent their honeymoon at nearby Rudyard Lake:) I hope you re-visit Bateman's when it is quieter:)

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  38. Wonderful visit, the kitchen and the garden is my favourite part...
    Amanda xx

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  39. Sounds really interesting. Love the cross stitch. Joan at www.aviewtothefells.com

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  40. Wow Amy -- thanks for the great post and all the wonderful pictures. It looks like a gorgeous home. I loved the Jungle Books when I was a little girl!

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  41. So fun Amy! Thanks for the tour. I would never have guessed that was a cheese coaster in a million years! Lol
    I love the library too. That would be my hang out with a crafting section in the corner. That wallpaper was amazing too.
    I'm so happy you're going to do a more detailed post about your work. I would be fascinated by that!! Xoxo

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  42. What a neat tour! So neat to see all that. I loved the alphabet necklace!

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  43. I loved the tour you took us on!!! The house appears so 'livable'...I do love old homes and old furnishings, so maybe that's why I thought it looked so comfortable!! (The bear skin would have to go, though!!!) I so agree with a little advance warning about events...we were at a lovely garden last week, and had no idea that there was a children's outdoor concert going on! Us and a thousand preschoolers!!! :)

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  44. Thanks for sharing Amy, house looks interesting and garden lovely. I must go, it's not that far from us, just a quick whizz down the A21. Have a great week. Jxx

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  45. What a wonderful tour - I loved the fireplaces, the paintings and the small sampler - as well as the flowers and the views of the rooms. The flowers are lovely.

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  46. Fabulous place! I love the study, could see myself working there. When I wasn't out in the garden that is :)

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  47. Hi Amy, it is a wonderful post! I love the house of Rudyard Kiping. I have never heard about him and this post is very important to me because I'm studying for an examination and I'm looking for British authors. I love the garden, the things and so on. His type writerror is amazing! I've learned to type on a Remington and I would like to have one old like this one. Its sound is lovely for me! I also live the window! I thought that was a place to put fruits in it. This is a fab post that I had a pleasure to read! Thanks for sharing it!
    I would like to visit that!

    Wishing you a nice week, Sandra xx

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  48. I also love the library! Amazing place! !!

    Sandraxx

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  49. Did not guess. I was thinking bread tray. I love the character of the home and all the workings of a writer. Love the library with the books and desk and reading glasses. The woodwork is fabulous. The garden would be great on a cool day, but not on days like we are having here. Fun post.

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  50. Thank you from Australia, for a tour I may never have taken otherwise! What a beautiful home and garden. How wonderful it is to see inside these lovely old homes, and take a peek at the domestic world of a famous writer and his family. :)

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  51. Love the old dark oak door and the embroidery is very "now"! Thank you Amy, for a grand tour of Batemans. Your post has generated a lot of interesting comments! I'm off to google "What if?" by Benjamen Zephaniah.....
    Sue X

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  52. I would love to visit here. If is my favourite poem too and I have been known to quote from it once or twice. That is so disappointing that there was an event being held and you didn't know, that is the worse thing for me if I can't linger. Lovely photographs though Amy xx

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  53. Thank you for taking all of us on the tour with you. All of the intricate details that you have captured with your photographs really do inspire the imagination. What a shame about the crowds and the cannons! Sudden noises like that upset my nerves and exhaust me - you are right that those sorts of events need to provide warning. Imagine if someone had a heart condition or similar and got a sudden shock from an unexpected firing of the cannon. It is not nice to feel rushed by crowds - I like to linger and take my time to take in all the details, especially for events with a fee to enter. Luckily you could take so many photos so you can continue to enjoy the sights afterwards. Thank you for a fascinating post.

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