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IN THE NEWS
TOUR OF THE MONTH
ON THIS DAY IN LONDON
Betjeman's Window Painting
The site of the Sailor's Homecoming Window.
Location: 43 Cloth Fair, Barbican
Description: This fine Georgian house, opposite the churchyard of a rare survivor of the Great Fire of 1666 - St Bartholomew the Great, was once the home of Poet Laureate Sir John Betjeman.
The story goes that in 1954 Betjeman, was having lunch with the architects John Seely (the 2nd Lord Mottistone) and Paul Paget at their office/home, at number 41 Cloth Fair, when he suddenly announced to his hosts But of course I've got to live here.
Paget happened to be owner several other properties here, and was, therefore, happy to oblige so that in August 1954, Betjeman moved into two rooms above a shop here 43 Cloth Fair, paying an annual rent of 200.
You'll notice next the blue plaque a peculiar painting; it is in fact a an oil painting the owners put up after they blocked up the window behind it on purpose. They owned both buildings and didnt like the neighbours looking in to see their dining table, and so bricked it up.
They didnt think it looked so great on a historic lane so they asked mural and stained glass artist Brian Thomas to create the Sailor's Home Coming Window - which is still there today (if a little shabby!).