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IN THE NEWS
TOUR OF THE MONTH
ON THIS DAY IN LONDON
25th May 1905 Born today: Binnie Barnes, London, actress (Adv of Marco Polo, Diamond Jim)
25th May 1878 Gilbert/Sullivans opera HMS Pinafore, premieres in London
Sir John Betjeman
This was once home to a Poet Laureate in 1972
Location: 31 Highgate West Hill, Highgate, Highgate, N6 6NP
Description: Sir John Betjeman, CBE was an English poet, writer and broadcaster who described himself in Who's Who as a 'poet and hack'.
He was a founding member of the Victorian Society and a passionate defender of Victorian architecture. Starting his career as a journalist, he ended it as one of the most popular British Poets Laureate to date and a much-loved figure on British television.
Betjeman's poems are often humorous and in broadcasting he exploited his bumbling and fogeyish image. His wryly comic verse is accessible and has attracted a great following for its satirical and observant grace.
Betjeman became Poet Laureate in 1972, the first Knight Bachelor ever to be appointed (the only other, Sir William Davenant, had been knighted after his appointment). This role, combined with his popularity as a television performer, ensured that his poetry eventually reached an audience enormous by the standards of the time.
And so to this property, Sir John Betjeman once lived here from 1908 to 1917. A blue plaque adorns this house.