Saturday, July 29, 2017
The Rudyard Kipling House in London
On a recent trip to London I was strolling up Villers street when I saw to the right of me a squeezed building called Kipling House. "Certainly that cannot be the Kipling," I said to my companion. So I asked the same of the a young man enjoying a puff or two on a cigaret in the awning's shadow. "Yes, the Rudyard Kipling lived here for a couple years," he verified. That's one of the coolest things about London is that the history city is so chockablock with literary haunts that you find them walking about.
So I snapped a photo on my phone and continued up Villers. When I got back in the States I researched it. Rudyard Kipling lived there from 1889-1891. Kipling stated: "From my desk I could look out of my window through the fanlight of Gatti's Music-Hall entrance, across the street, almost on to its stage. The Charing Cross trains rumbled through my dreams on one side, the boom of the Strand on the other, while, before my windows, Father Thames under the Shot tower walked up and down with his traffic."
Kipling wrote segments of his novel The Light that Failed in the house. He did not, however, pen his ghost short stories there. His most popular is "The Strange Ride of Morrowbie Jukes published in 1899. That story, nor any of Rudyard Kiplings other ghost stories rose to the level of The Best Ghost Short Stories 1850-1899: A Phantasmal Ghost Anthology given their lack of terror-inducing storylines.
But the next time you are strolling along Villers Street in London and pass building 43, look up and see the digs of famous author of his day (though a middling ghost story writer).
Author Andrew Barger