Who is John Betjeman

Sir John Betjeman (; 28 August 1906 – 19 May 1984) was an English poet, writer, and broadcaster. He was Poet Laureate from 1972 until his death. He was a founding member of The Victorian Society and a passionate defender of Victorian architecture, helping to save St Pancras railway station from demolition. He began his career as a journalist and ended it as one of the most popular British Poets Laureate and a much-loved figure on British television.


Early life and education

Betjeman was born John Betjemann. He was the son of a prosperous silverware maker of Dutch descent. His parents, Mabel (née Dawson) and Ernest Betjemann, had a family firm at 34–42 Pentonville Road which manufactured the kind of ornamental household furniture and gadge...
Read Full Biography of John Betjeman

John Betjeman Poems

  • Trebetherick
    We used to picnic where the thrift
    Grew deep and tufted to the edge;
    We saw the yellow foam flakes drift
    In trembling sponges on the ledge...
  • The Plantster's Vision
    Cut down that timber! Bells, too many and strong,
    Pouring their music through the branches bare,
    From moon-white church towers down the windy air
    Have pealed the centuries out with Evensong....
  • The Last Laugh
    I made hay while the sun shone.
    My work sold.
    Now, if the harvest is over
    And the world cold,...
  • Slough
    Come friendly bombs and fall on Slough!
    It isn't fit for humans now,
    There isn't grass to graze a cow.
    Swarm over, Death!...
  • Myfanwy
    Kind o'er the kinderbank leans my Myfanwy,
    White o'er the playpen the sheen of her dress,
    Fresh from the bathroom and soft in the nursery
    Soap scented fingers I long to caress....
Read All Poems

Top 10 most used topics by John Betjeman

House 3 Sun 3 Hold 2 Children 2 Light 2 White 2 World 2 Heavy 2 Silver 2 Black 2

John Betjeman Quotes

Read All Quotes

Comments about John Betjeman

Willtullett: john betjeman in 'summoned by bells' remembering the smell of the london underground in the late 1910s: the central london, with its cut-glass shades on draughty stations, had an ozone smell – not seaweed-scented ozone from the sea but something chemical from birmingham.
Allour_stories: clevedon pier opened otd 1869 with parade, bands & cannon volley by first somerset artillery. paddle steamer excursions to wales. ‘the most beautiful pier in england’ (john betjeman).  think bathing machines on the beach, stripey bathing suits, moustaches & saucy postcards.
Samfaith: i forgot i took this photo last week. one for the stymie bold / egyptian gothic fans. it's at trebetherick in cornwall and it's a nice thought that john betjeman's phone calls might've gone through here.
Felicitycox14: to paraphrase john betjeman: "come, friendly bombs, and fall on chester it isn't fit for humans now..."
Dream_teamtips: 1 point - john betjeman won us some money last time out at ffos las as winner and has not been penalised at all for this next race, looks strong to finish in top two in a small field. added with greece to win to add some extra value. lithuania have only scored in 2/10 games.
Read All Comments

Write your comment about John Betjeman

Poem of the day

Ernest Dowson Poem
The Sea-Change
 by Ernest Dowson

Where river and ocean meet in a great tempestuous
Beyond the bar, where on the dunes the white-
capped rollers break;
Above, one windmill stands forlorn on the arid,
grassy down:
I will set my sail on a stormy day and cross the
bar and seek

Read complete poem

Popular Poets