John Betjeman - Writer and poet laureate

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John Betjeman statue
John Betjeman statue

Sir John Betjeman was born in 1906 in Highgate, London and was the son of a cabinet maker. He was educated at Marlborough and at Magdalen College, Oxford, although he did not complete his degree course.
In 1930, Betjeman became the editor of an architectural magazine. Consequently he became a lifelong champion of Victorian and Edwardian art and architecture. He is mainly known as a writer of light verse, some of which was satirical but he also wrote essays and guidebooks. He was awarded a CBE in 1960 and knighted in 1969. In 1972, he became poet laureate.

Throughout his childhood, the family went for holidays to Trebetherick near Polzeath in Cornwall, where his father owned a number of properties. These seem to have been happy days and Betjeman’s long love affair with Cornwall is reflected in much of his poetry such as "Seaside Golf". He also describes his childhood memories of the county in “Summoned by Bells”, his blank verse autobiography.

John Betjeman's Grave - Trebetherick
John Betjeman's Grave

He died in 1984 aged 77at his home in Trebetherick. He was buried at St Enodoc church near Rock.

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