The Loughton Idyll, Rudyard Kipling and Stanley Baldwin at Goldings Farm, 1877

The Loughton Idyll, Rudyard Kipling and Stanley Baldwin at Goldings Farm, 1877

By Janice Lingley

Published by Alderton Press, 76 pages. Paperback (N7678)

From the rear side cover: As children, Rudyard Kipling, his sister, Trix, and cousin, Stanley Baldwin, spent the summer of 1877 in Loughton. They had the run of the open Forest and of Goldings Farm, owned by the avuncular John Dalley. The freedoms and friendships of the children's stay were highly important in the development and future careers of the writer and of the Prime Minister; the Nobel laureate and the politician both remembered it with huge affection whenever they met as famous men years onward.

From the preface by Chris Pond: People are sometimes surprised that Loughton, situated within 15 miles of London, was a favoured holiday destination for day trips and longer stays in the 19th century. It was, and I have in my collection several guidebooks to the area. These were mostly printed on flimsy paper, and sold for sixpence or a shilling. They quickly disintegrated, and are now scarce. More than one of them describes Goldings Hill and Pond as a particular beauty spot.

Many Loughton people know vaguely of the remarkable time spent near this picturesque spot by Rudyard Kipling and Stanley Baldwin as boys in the 1870s, chronicled by Rudyard's sister, Alice ('Trix'). There is no doubt the six months' holiday was seminal in the development of both men. Until now, it has been one of those curious footnotes of local and literary history, never fully explained since it first appeared in print in William Addison's book about Epping Forest's many historical and literary connections some 70 years ago.

Janice Lingley, who is a most meticulous researcher, has now investigated that joyful summer holiday thoroughly, and has set it firmly within the context of Kipling's development, both as riter and as man. Added to this must be considered the persona of Stanley Baldwin, himself a writer of no mean ability, and his background as Prime Minister. Most writers use 'something of themselves' and their own experiences in their subsequent careers, and [anice has identified passages and incidents that may well have had their origin in the Loughton holiday. In doing so, she has also illustrated a great deal about the Loughton of 140 years ago, its people and its way of life.

The condition of the book is generally excellent. The covers are clean and bright, the spine is intact and all pages are clean, intact, unblemished and tightly bound. There is a small price sticker on the rear side cover