Probably the most famous resident of Rottingdean was the writer Rudyard Kipling, who moved there with his uncle the painter Sir Edward Burne-Jones in 1897. It was there that he wrote one of his most famous works, the Just So Stories. He also wrote “A Smuggler’s Song” after moving away from the village, which was probably inspired by the aforementioned smuggling trade. His old house is adjacent to the gardens named after him, Kipling Gardens. It appears he had a rocky relationship with his neighbours. In 1902 the Sunday Vindicator reported that Rottingdean residents were outraged when Kipling’s aunt displayed a pro-Boer banner, which “provoked a tumultuous assemblage of the villagers”, who were met by Kipling with “the use of sundry forceful expletives”. This incident made him so unpopular with the locals that he moved to a new home near Tunbridge Wells, making the excuse that he was fed up with the large numbers of his fans descending on him in Rottingdean.
Map of the area.
|Beach huts at Rottingdean. Photo by David Eldridge, via Wikimedia Commons|