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Rudyard Kipling (1865 - 1936)

Biography of Rudyard Kipling

Kipling was an English writer and winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature. He is best known for his poems and stories set in India during the period of British imperial rule.

Rudyard Kipling was born in Bombay, India, on 30 December 1865. His father was an artist and teacher. In 1870, Kipling was taken back to England to stay with a foster family in Southsea and then to go to boarding school in Devon. In 1882, he returned to India and worked as a journalist, writing poetry and fiction in his spare time. Books such as 'Plain Tales from the Hills' (1888) gained success in England, and in 1889 Kipling went to live in London.

In 1892, Kipling married Caroline Balestier, the sister of an American friend, and the couple moved to Vermont in the United States, where her family lived. Their two daughters were born there and Kipling wrote 'The Jungle Book' (1894). In 1896, a quarrel with his wife's family prompted Kipling to move back to England and he settled with his own family in Sussex. His son John was born in 1897.

By now Kipling had become an immensely popular writer and poet for children and adults. His books included 'Stalky and Co.' (1899), 'Kim' (1901) and 'Puck of Pook's Hill' (1906). The 'Just So Stories' (1902) were originally written for his daughter Josephine, who died of pneumonia aged six.

Kipling turned down many honours in his lifetime, including a knighthood and the poet laureateship, but in 1907, he accepted the Nobel Prize for Literature, the first English author to be so honoured.

In 1902, Kipling bought a 17th century house called Bateman's in East Sussex where he lived for the rest of his life. He also travelled extensively, including repeated trips to South Africa in the winter months.

In 1915, his son, John, went missing in action while serving with the Irish Guards in the Battle of Loos during World War One. Kipling had great difficulty accepting his son's death - having played a major role in getting the chronically short-sighted John accepted for military service - and subsequently wrote an account of his regiment, 'The Irish Guards in the Great War'. He also joined the Imperial War Graves Commission and selected the biblical phrase inscribed on many British war memorials: 'Their Name Liveth For Evermore'.

Kipling died on 18 January 1936 and is buried at Westminster Abbey.


United Services College

View of the previous site of the United Services College
Fortunately for Kipling in 1878 he was relocated to United Services College at Westward Ho!, a school established to prepare boys for the British Army. This college however was not chosen for this reason but rather because the headmaster of the school was Cormell Price, affectionately known as 'Uncle Corm' to Kipling. It was here that Kipling's literary abilities were allowed to flourish, with the college allowing him to edit the school magazine'. It was here at United Services College that Kipling devised the idea of 'Stalky and Co' a book loosely based on his experience at the college. He even includes himself in the book as the central character 'Beetle'.



Adorned across the Westward Ho! promenade is the first verse of Rudyard Kipling's world renowned poem, 'If'. The poem was chosen by the local community as Kipling spent several of his childhood years at the aforementioned United Services College. The site was developed with Devon and Cornwall Surfacing, Quicksetts and SureSet collaborating to construct the surface seen today. 

The poem was written by Kipling in 1895 and first published in 1910 in his collection of short stories and poetry entitled 'Rewards and Fairies'. It is written in the form of paternal advice towards his son, John, listing virtues that will transform his son into a man. How many of these virtues are still valid today?

Key Facts

  • Natural Aggregate: 6mm Midnight
  • Application: pedestrian, light vehicular, creative paving
  • Area: 150m² 
  • Base: asphalt
  • Depth: 20mm
  • Edging: granite setts
  • Installed: May/June 2016   

Information provided from SureSet



IF you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: 'Hold on!'

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings - nor lose the common touch,
if neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man, my son!

Did you guess 'The Jungle Book?'

Baloo the Bear
In 1894 Rudyard Kipling published The Jungle Book, composed of seven short stories and starring young Mowgli, the 'man cub' raised by wolves. The first short story 'Mowgli's Brothers' focuses on his upbringing by the pack of wolves and main antagonist (Shere Khan) attempts to dethrone Akela, the leader of the wolf pack who is protecting Mowgli. Fortunately for our young protagonist he is also aided by the wise Bagheera, a panther, and the lovable bear, Baloo. It is in this short story that Mowgli attacks Shere Khan with fire, driving him away, an infamous scene in movie adaptations. 

In the second novel Shere Khan meets an unpleasant demise, resembling that of Mufasa's death in The Lion King, when Mowgli devises a plan to stampede a herd of buffalo into two opposite ends of a ravine, crushing the trapped Shere Khan. 

Inspirational words for Wimbledon participants

The extract above the entrance to the Centre Court waiting to greet those who will battle for one of the most recognised trophies in tennis are "If you can meet with triumph and disaster and treat those two impostors just the same."

A thank you to the Coastal Community Fund

The 'If' part of the promenade is part of a £418,000 grant provided by The Coastal Community Fund. Other improvements include  includes enhancements and resurfacing of the Promenade along the sea front and repairs to the Rockpool after it was severely damaged in 2015.

As well as the resurfacing of the Promenade other enhancements have included new seating, litter bins, hand railings and lighting. The tarmac surface has been inset with granite to create an intricate weaving pattern that children have already been seen following as a winding trail while out walking


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