John Betjeman show reveals lust for Louth at Museum of Lincolnshire Life

By Culture24 Staff | 02 February 2010
A photo of a statue of a man in a suit inside a railway station

(Above) John Betjeman's statue at St Pancras Station in London is well known, but a new exhibition at the Museum of Lincolnshire Life reveals his love for Lincoln. © Wikimedia Commons user Oxyman

Exhibition: Betjeman's Lincolnshire, Museum of Lincolnshire Life, Lincoln, until February 20 2010

Erudition was rarely a problem for John Betjeman, so it's hardly a surprise that the iconic poet and writer's keynote speech at a heritage conference in Lincoln in 1963 resulted in the Museum of Lincolnshire Life being opened.

Almost 50 years later, this retrospective recognises the influence Betjeman had on a region he loved for its scenery, comparing the landscape of Louth to Venice during frequent travels to see his close friend Philip Larkin, a contemporary in a period when poets were regarded as celebrities.

Original letters to friends and family accompany a multitude of poems and books on architecture, interior design and travel, illustrating the versatility of Betjeman's verbosity.

A photo of a sculpture of a man's laughing head

The poet's influence resulted in the opening of the Museum

An early Vice-President of the Lincolnshire Association and a fervent campaigner for the county to have its own flag, the material is largely specific to the area, featuring photos of churches and country houses in Lincolnshire.

"Betjeman was a champion of the unregarded," says the Betjeman Society's Horace Liberty.

"Much of what he did was to draw our attention to that, whether it was in churches, landscapes or Victorian architecture."

Open 10am-4pm. Admission free, call 01522 528448 or visit the Museum online.

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