John Betjeman by Jocelyn Brooke

John Betjeman, long known for his highly individual verse, and for his essays on architectural taste, has had this said of him by Sir Kenneth Clark: 'his influence', he wrote in a Prefatory Letter to a recent edition of "The Gothic Revival", 'has not been exerted through learned articles, but through poetry and conversation . . . One of the few original minds of our generation.' Sir Kenneth also wrote of Mr. Betjeman's 'sensitive response to everything which expresses human needs and affections', and the tribute is apt. Mr. Betjeman has now added the distinction of having made his poetry popular to an extent to which there has not been a parallel in our own time.

In 1969, he was knighted, and when Cecil Day Lewis died in 1972, JB was made Poet Laureate.

His last book of new poems, A Nip in The Air, was published in 1974. After that, he began to suffer from Parkinson's Disease, and a series of strokes reduced his mobility.

John Betjeman died on May 19th 1984, at his home in Trebetherick. He was buried in the nearby church of St.Enodoc.

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