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Poetry and Prose

Betjeman and the Anglican Imagination by Kevin J Gardner leads readers through the rollicking and humorous world of Betjeman’s writings to gain a clear, grand picture of the turbulent faith behind one of Britain’s most popular poets. Published in September 2010

Edited by Stephen Games, Betjeman's England is a gazetteer of England, spanning the country's highlights from Humberside to Kent and from Manchester to Cornwall, and is based on Betjeman's best television programmes filmed over a 20-year period.

The book contains the commentaries for all 26 of his Shell advertisements in 1955-56, as well as the 12 films he made with Jonathan Stedall for TWW in the early 1960s, his five best films for Eddie Mirzoeff at the BBC, and two films he made about London with Ken Russell.

First and Last Loves - a collection of Betjeman's essays on architecture, first published to coincide with an exhibition at the Soane Museum, and a worthwhile volume in its own right. Introduced with a lively tirade against mediocrity entitled 'Love is Dead', Betjeman discusses a range of topics including conservation battles, modern architecture and his passion for railways.
Poems In The Porch - The Radio Poems of John Betjeman. Between 1953-57, John Betjeman read a series of poems on 'The Faith in the West' program airing on the BBC's West of England Home Service. This series, called 'Poems in the Porch,' was so popular that Betjeman received constant requests to publish the poems. Six were eventually published in a slim volume, but now Kevin Gardner has identified and collected twenty six of these works. Most have never been published before.
Sweet Songs of Zion Edited by Stephen Games. This book brings together a series of previously unpublished BBC Radio talks John Betjeman gave towards the end of his life. These talks concerning hymns and hymn writers were Betjeman's swan song as a broadcaster. 'Hymns are the poems of the people', Betjeman observed in his first talk, and went on to show how variously this insight has been borne out over generations.
Tennis Whites and Teacakes Tennis Whites and Teacakes Edited by Stephen Games. "Tennis Whites and Teacakes" brings together the best of Betjeman's poetry, private letters, journalism and musings to present a fully rounded picture of what he stood for. From his arguments for new steel buildings to his amusement about the etiquette of village teashops, it reveals Betjeman not just as a sentimentalist but as a passionate observer with a wonderful sense of humour and an acute eye.
Collected Poems Collected Poems. The Centenary edition, including for the first time "Summoned By Bells". Also published in the USA
Trains and Buttered Toast "Trains and Buttered Toast" edited by Stephen Games . From fervent pleas for provincial preservation to humoresques on eccentric vicars and his own personal demons, Betjeman's radio talks combined wit, nostalgia and criticism in a way that touched the soul of his listeners from the 1930s to the 1950s. Now collected in book form for the first time.
The Best Loved Poems The Best Loved Poems of John Betjeman. A Centenary edition of around seventy of the most popular poems, with a foreword by Barry Humphries.
John Betjeman on Trains John Betjeman on Trains, edited by Jonathan Glancey. Ten letters selected by his daughter, Candida Lycett Green, each describe a journey that he made or that he planned to make or that he planned for a friend or relative. Jonathan Glancey has added his own words to each letter; words that set the scene, bring the letters to life, that describe Betjeman's moods - humorous, mischievous, brisk for business - and above all, remind us of the age of the steam locomotive in Britain and the many stations closed and track miles lost during the sixties and seventies.
The Best of Betjeman The Best of Betjeman, selected by John Guest. A selection of the most popular poems, together with prose, and the TV script for "Metroland".
Coming Home Coming Home. A large collection of prose, bringing together a selection of John Betjeman's writings spanning four decades, discussing buildings, townscape and landscape, together with appreciations of writers, artists and architects, ranging from Evelyn Waugh, Pugin and T.S. Eliot, to R.S. Thomas, Etchells and Jacob Epstein.
Faith and Doubt Faith and Doubt of John Betjeman, by Kevin Gardner. An anthology of about 75 poems on religious themes, with clarifying footnotes and a critical introduction that offers an overview of his life and poetry, as well as a commentary on some of his more difficult poems.
Poet to Poet John Betjeman - Poet to Poet, by Hugo Williams. A selection of poetry, with introductions & critical reactions by contemporary poet, Hugo Williams.

Biography & Letters

Betjeman by AN Wilson Betjeman by A.N.Wilson. This book is the first to use fully the vast archive of personal material relating to Betjeman's private life, including literally hundreds of letters written by his wife about their life together and apart. Here too are chronicled his many friendships, ranging from 'Bosie' Douglas to the young satirists of "Private Eye", from the Mitford Sisters to the "Crazy Gang". 
Letters 1926-1951 Letters 1926 -1951, edited by Candida Lycett Green. Covers Betjeman’s life from his university days through to his period on the staff of The Architectural Review, as editor of the Shell Guides in the 1930s, and as Press Attaché in Dublin during the War. With notes and introductions from his daughter, Candida Lycett Green.
Letters 1951-1984 Letters: 1951 - 1984, edited by Candida Lycett Green. Covers his life from the age of forty-six, when his popularity as poet and broadcaster and as campaigner against the destruction of fine buildings was reaching its height.
John Betjeman John Betjeman, by Dennis Brown. Brown explores JB's contribution to Britain's self understanding, reveals the continuing relevance of Betjeman's work in an era of ‘contingency, irony, and solidarity’, and shows why Betjeman remains the most popular English poet of our times
A Bibliography John Betjeman - A Bibliography, by William S. Peterson. This bibliography lists and describes all of his known writings, including his own books, ephemera, contributions to periodicals and to books by others, lectures, and radio and television programmes. Other categories such as editorships, music settings, and dramatic adaptations of his poems, recordings, and interviews are also included, as well as a section devoted to writings about him. Manuscripts and drafts of all his works are described in detail. This enormous body of material is thoroughly indexed, cross-referenced, and in most cases annotated.
John Betjeman & Cornwall, by Philip Payton.
This is a lively new account of Betjeman's life and work and his defining lifelong relationship with Cornwall. Quintessentially English, Betjeman was an 'outsider' in England and doubly so in Cornwall where, as he was the first to admit, he was a 'foreigner'. Yet, as this book describes, Betjeman also strove to acquire a veneer of 'Cornishness', discovering his own Welsh ancestry and cultivating an alternative Celtic identity in Cornwall.

Audio & Video/DVD

A Bird's Eye View - Sir John Betjeman narrates three classic BBC films documenting some of England's most historical and picturesque places.

Part 1: An Englishman's Home [1969]
Part 2: Beside the Seaside [1969]
Part 3: One Man's County; Cornwall [1964]
John Betjeman looks at the texture of Cornwall.

Thank God It's Sunday & Summoned By Bells - Sir John Betjeman narrates three classic films from the BBC archive.

Thank God It's Sunday [1972]
Two films showing how Londoners spend Sunday. Part one looks at those who go to the seaside and part two looks at those who stay in London.

Summoned By Bells [1976]
Based on the verse autobiography of the same name - 'a unique and touching account of an Edwardian middle-class childhood'. The film covers the period of Sir John Betjeman's life up to the time he started his first job.

Four With Betjeman - Victorian Architects and Architecture - This four part series looks at the men associated with the Victorian Gothic Revival and some of their famous constructions

Part 1: Charles Barry & Augustus Pugin
Part 2: William Butterfield & Gilbert Scott
Part 3: Alfred Waterhouse & Norman Shaw
Part 4: Sir Ninian Comper, William Robinson & Sir Edwin Lutyens

A Passion For Churches. JB's 1974 BBC documentary, looking at life in the churches around the Diocese of Norwich.
   
Betjeman's West Country - two hours of clips from Sir John's films on West Country towns (made in the early 1960s), plus interviews with family & friends, explianing the background to the films and their place in his life. Presented by John Nettles.
Summoned By Bells: A Life in Verse Sir John's own recording of his verse autobiography, on two CDs.

Betjeman's Britain: Poems from the BBC Archives A 2 CD collection of JB reading his own poetry, from the BBC archives.

Summoned by Bells Summoned by Bells. The film version of JB's verse autobiography, made for the BBC in 1976.
Metroland Metroland. The original BBC journey along the Metropolitan Line, together with a number of short railway-related films. Also includes a 24 page illustrated booklet by director Edward Mirzoeff.
Banana Blush Betjeman's Banana Blush. The first of the recordings of JB reciting his poetry over the music of Jim Parker. Includes "Indoor Games Near Newbury", "A Shropshire Lad" and "A Child Ill"
Betjeman's Britain Sir John Betjeman's Britain. More poetry with the music of Jim Parker, including "Hunter Trials", "A Subaltern's Love Song", "Seaside Golf", and "Middlesex".
Late Flowering Love Late Flowering Love. Another selection of poetry with music by Jim Parker, including "Narcissus", "The Olympic Girl", and "Myfanwy".
Varisty Rag Varsity Rag. With music from Jim Parker. Includes "Slough", "Christmas", and "In a Bath teashop".
A First Class Collection A First Class Collection. Two CDs from the BBC, including archive recordings of JB reading some of his most popular works, as well as readings specially commissioned for BBC Radio 4's Poetry Please, from Derek Jacobi, Miriam Margolyes, Stephen Fry, Susan Jameson and Samuel West .
The Lost Betjemans The Lost Betjemans and Betjeman Revisited. A series of films on towns in the West Country, made by JB in the early 60s. Some have had their soundtrack re-recorded by Nigel Hawthorne. 2 VHS videos.

Other Items

Tea Towel "Betjeman's Country" Tea Towel. Royal blue on white, size 20" x 30". £5 each, (plus P&P £1 for 1 towel, £2 for up to 4). From Philippa Davies, 2 The Crescent, St.Stephens, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7AG. (Cheques payable to Philippa Davies).