Ray Broomfield was the speaker at the Club’s meeting on 26th July. Ray was a volunteer for 15 years at the National Trust property of Bateman’s, the home of Rudyard Kipling, during which time he developed a passionate interest in the former occupier of the house. Ray spoke of Kipling’s times post-India when he arrived in England and originally lived in Villiers Street, London, before he went to the United States in 1892 and bought a house, Naulakha, in Vermont where he loved the seclusion and scenery. Arthur Conan Doyle was a visitor and taught Kipling to play golf, a game he came to love. Kipling’s post was of such a volume that he was allocated his own post office, such was his success and popularity then. Kipling left after four years following a messy court case against his brother-in-law. The house is now owned by the Landmark Trust and let to tenants but Ray was fortunate enough to persuade the Trust to allow him to visit; he showed a number of photographs of the interior.
The Kiplings then moved to Rottingdean in East Sussex but decided to leave because of the lack of privacy, charabancs full of tourists gazing over the hedge was a regular occurrence. In 1902 after a search, they came across Bateman’s, a rural property near Burwash where they settled until his death. Ray spoke about the house, including his own experiences while he was volunteering, and Kipling’s life there. He touched upon life in the household and the death of their son in WW1 and then on how the National Trust highlighted the times Kipling lived in by staging various events at the property.
Rotarian Colin Goldsack thanked Ray for a very interesting talk which covered a number of lesser-known aspects of Kipling’s life.
'What We Do' Main Pages: