Writers in British hotels: Kipling at Brown’s

In the new issue, we tour the historic hotels our finest writers have made their home while they pen their tales. Here’s a taste of Jungle Book author Rudyard Kipling’s love for London’s beautiful Brown’s.

Brown's hotel
Brown’s hotel, London

Brown’s Hotel in Albemarle Street has been open since 1837 when Lord Byron’s former butler, James Brown, bought up London townhouses to create a gentleman’s hotel. Many of the world’s finest writers have stayed in this discreet, friendly hotel over the years, including Arthur Conan Doyle, Robert Louis Stevenson, JM Barrie, Bram Stoker and Agatha Christie. Sir Winston Churchill, no mean writer himself, once growled: “When in London I do not stay at a hotel, I stay at Brown’s.”

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The writer most celebrated by the hotel is Rudyard Kipling who spent the first night of his honeymoon here in 1892. He came back frequently, treating Brown’s as his London base. Here he completed the last of the stories for his Jungle Book in 1894. The desk at which Kipling was found collapsed in 1936, dying one week later, is in a suite overlooking Dover Street; another suite contains a framed letter that the Nobel Prize-winner wrote in 1919 from Brown’s. Unfortunately it only addresses the question of whether some land he owned in East Sussex could be rented as an allotment, but it’s proof the author conducted his daily business from this very discreet hotel.

Today Brown’s continues its association with the arts in the Donovan Bar, dedicated to works by the celebrated 20th-century fashion photographer, Terence Donovan. What would Mr Kipling have said about those nude women on display?

For the full article see the Jan/Feb (UK) and March (US) issue of BRITAIN magazine.

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