John Betjeman

From safaris to cups of tea, our motives are seldom what they seem

21 January 2017 9:00 am

When were you last in a game reserve? Perhaps most Spectator readers will be familiar with the experience and if…

Visionary: ‘Battle of Germany’, 1944, by Paul Nash

Wonderfully mellow, rich and strange: Paul Nash at Tate Britain reviewed

29 October 2016 9:00 am

In 1932 Paul Nash posed the question, is it possible to ‘go modern’ and still ‘be British?’ — a conundrum…

Portrait of a youthful Patrick Leigh Fermor in Cretan costume, by Adrian Daintrey (oil on canvas), Chatsworth House, Derbyshire

Dashing for the book: A lifetime of letters from Paddy Leigh Fermor

1 October 2016 9:00 am

Justin Marozzi says the letters of Patrick Leigh Fermor are a 20th-century treasure-trove and a feast for admirers of the great man

What you learn when you learn a poem by heart

10 September 2016 9:00 am

I’ve just learned by heart another poem — my first in nearly 30 years. The one I chose was A.E.…

What Betjeman’s suburbs can teach us about multicultural integration

16 July 2016 9:00 am

In After the Vote, her talk for this week’s special edition of A Point of View (Radio 4) on the…

The history of London through its parish churches

16 January 2016 9:00 am

John Betjeman, the patron saint of English parish churches, once warned against praising British buildings too much. Be careful before…

‘Second Empire Renaissance’ (from Pillar to Post). ‘Its most notable feature was the mansard roof. However suitable this device may be on top of the Louvre, it altogether fails to produce an effect of inevitable rightness amid the less exalted surroundings of Victoria Station.’

Osbert Lancaster: a national treasure rediscovered

12 December 2015 9:00 am

True to his saw that ours is ‘a land of rugged individualists’, Osbert Lancaster, in his self-appointed role of popular…

Tides of wealth: Polzeath beach

Would Betjeman recognise anything about today’s north Cornwall?

11 July 2015 9:00 am

In a documentary filmed at the end of his life, Sir John Betjeman, who lived in the village of Trebetherick…

Arch enemies: Euston Arch (left), torn down to make way for London’s most miserable train station (right)

Should Euston Arch be raised from the dead?

23 May 2015 9:00 am

Yes  William Cook Rejoice! Rejoice! Fifty-four years after its destruction, Euston Arch has returned to Euston. Well, after a fashion.…

Cars are our cathedrals

18 April 2015 9:00 am

Stephen Bayley hails the automobile – a miracle of technical and artistic collaboration – and mourns its demise

Dear Mary: How to talk to friends whose book you haven’t read

15 November 2014 9:00 am

Q. What is the correct thing to say to a writer friend whose book you haven’t read? I buy most…

The wonderful and unpredictable Candida Lycett Green

30 August 2014 9:00 am

Remembering Candida Lycett Green

Who needs drugs when you have Radio 3?

30 August 2014 9:00 am

I’m willing to bet it’s only on the BBC’s Radio 3 that you’ll find yourself listening to a programme quite…

A.N. Wilson's diary: The book that made me a writer – and the pushchair that made me an old git

23 August 2014 9:00 am

Like many inward-looking children, I always doodled stories and poems. Knowing one wanted to be a writer is a different…

St Enodoc Church overlooking St Enodoc golf course and the sea beyond, Rock, Cornwall. John Betjeman lies buried in the graveyard

The ultimate guide to Cornwall

19 July 2014 9:00 am

Before writing this review I spent an hour looking for my original Pevsner paperback on Cornwall, published in 1951 (the…

The false paradise of Metroland

5 October 2013 9:00 am

William Cook has moved to Metroland. He contemplates John Betjeman’s vision of it

A Rogues’ Gallery, by Peter Lewis - review

24 August 2013 9:00 am

Like Mel Brooks’s character the Two Thousand-Year-Old Man, Peter Lewis has met everyone of consequence. Though he doesn’t mention being…

A secret gallery at Hyde Park Corner

27 July 2013 9:00 am

A rare jewel sits in the middle of the Hyde Park Corner roundabout. The Quadrant Gallery, run by English Heritage,…