The Road to Mandalay

Inside famous poet and storywriter Rudyard Kipling’s former home

According to his biography, Rudyard Kipling: A Life (2000) by Harry Ricketts, Kipling was born in Mumbai in 1865, educated in England, and then worked as a journalist in India between 1883 to 1889. In 1889 Kipling travelled to London and moved into a one bedroom apartment on the fifth floor of 43 Villiers Street and lived there until 1891, a blue plaque outside the property commemorates this fact.

The current Kipling House was originally built as a warehouse in 1790 and then converted into a Victorian apartment building in 1880, made up at the time of one bedroom apartments, providing a living/dining room, bedroom and bathroom. Most were rented out as “bachelor lodgings” to single people like Kipling. In the 1920s 43 Villiers Street was refurbished to provide larger two bedroom apartments and later in 1950, the building was renamed Kipling House in honour of Rudyard.

In 1891 Kipling started dating Caroline Balestier, who he later married in 1892, so he left his apartment on Villiers Street and eventually moved in with Caroline, the family lived from 1894 onwards on Ebury Street in Pimlico. Kipling went on to write many popular novels and poems including the Jungle Book dilogy (The Jungle Book, 1894; The Second Jungle Book, 1895), The Road to Mandalay (1890), Kim (1901) and the Just So Stories (1902). He was subsequently awarded the Nobel Prize and was the first English language writer to receive the prize and the youngest recipient to date, being only 41 at the time.



Today, the apartment located on the fifth floor has a generously sized reception room that can be used as a living/dining room as well as a study/home office. This room offers double aspect windows and a Juliet balcony. The fully fitted kitchen has stone flooring, sleek white built-in cupboards and cabinets, dark stone worktops and integrated appliances.

The principal bedroom suite has built-in wardrobes, offering plenty of storage space, and a large en suite bathroom with a bath and shower. The second bedroom also has built-in wardrobes and there is a family bathroom across the hallway.  Fully modernised for 21st Century London living, this property is available to buy through Dexters Fitzrovia & Covent Garden.

Other famous residents of Villiers Street include writer John Evelyn (1620-1706), the founder of the Spectator and Tatler magazines, and Irish writer Richard Steele (1672-1729). Villiers Street is situated just a minutes walk from both Charing Cross Station and Embankment Underground Station. Trafalgar Square and The National Gallery are just a five minute walk away, and the apartment offers easy access to Whitehall, Covent Garden, the West End and the City of London.

James Staite, Director of Dexters Fitzrovia & Covent Garden says, ‘The key thing about this spacious two bedroom apartment is that it provides the perfect London base, located right in the heart of the capital on the doorstep of Whitehall and Covent Garden, it is ideal for access into the City of London. The Rudyard Kipling history is a fantastic story for the new owners to tell guests when entertaining in the apartment.’