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!
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!