(edited by Alastair Wilson)
It was the pleasant custom in many English houses which were used to receive frequent visitors, to record their comings and goings in a special book, usually kept on a table in the hallway. It didn’t matter who you were, if you were a ‘front door’ visitor (as opposed to a ‘back door’ tradesman), you would be invited to record your visit in the visitor’s book when you left. At Bateman’s it would seem that, rather than the guest making his/her own entry, Carrie kept the book, making the entries herself.
The Bateman’s visitors book is still extant and luckily we have a photocopy transcription made, it is assumed, by the NT curatorial staff. It has now been further transcribed and annotated, to give us a picture of the Kiplings’ social life at Bateman’s – they had moved in, 6 September 1902, in conditions not unlike those RK later described in the tale ‘”The Puzzler“’ and their first visitor arrived nine days later.
We are grateful to the National Trust at Bateman’s for access to the text of Mrs Kipling’s Visitors Book on this site