Saltdean Valley / Lustrells Vale

As part of the move to expand rifle clubs in Britain after the Boer War, Rudyard Kipling founded a rifle club in Rottingdean and a drill shed with a thousand yard range was constructed in about 1900. [Refs: 1,2]

The rifle range was north of Saltdean, in the Saltdean Valley / Lustrells Vale and is still marked on the 1912 OS map on East Hill, though the Rifle Club had been wound up by then. (The land has since been developed.) It was common practice that men learned to fire their rifles using the indoor Morris Tube before being allowed into the open ground.

(Sources: Journal of the Kipling Society, December 1993, article by Michael Smith entitled 'The Kiplings in Rottingdean, Part II'; and an article in Rifleman, 1989, reproduced on

According to an article by Michael Smith, Kipling wound up the Rifle Club in 1904 and the Rottingdean Drill Shed was 'removed to Burwash for a reading room.' (Source: 'Kipling's Sussex: A Chronology', 2003, on the Kipling Society website,

Kipling's story 'The Parable of Boy Jones' published 1910 in 'The Rifleman' and in 'Land and Sea Tales', 1923, draws on the experiences of the rifle club in Rottingdean and reveals his anxiety about the national risk posed by the threat of an enemy.
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The Drill Hall Project - Charting a neglected legacy