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Sir John Betjeman (1906 – 84)

Title page from 'A Nip in the Air', RCIN 1085139 Royal Collection Trust/All Rights Reserved

John Betjeman was born and brought up in North London. He began writing poetry at school and continued at Oxford, where he made the acquaintance of the poets W.H. Auden and Louis MacNeice. He also developed a strong interest in architecture and was a founder member of the Victorian Society in 1958.

In 1960 he was awarded The Queen’s Medal for Poetry and in 1972 he was appointed Poet Laureate. Betjeman was already a well-known figure due to his regular appearances on television and his appointment as Poet Laureate ensured his poetry, written in a humorous and accessible style, reached a very wide audience.