Wednesday, 11 May 2011

John Betjeman and St Pancras Station; Robert Rams and...?

To cheer everyone up, I thought you might enjoy this picture of the John Betjeman statue appearing to look up at the Olympic rings at St Pancras station. If you are in the area, it is worth going into the station to have a look.

I had a pint at the Betjeman Arms on Monday night. Jury's out on it as a pub, but it's fun sitting on the terrace inside the station - with the smell of the train fuel and all!

As we know, Betjeman is famous as a poet but also for campaigning to save buildings that people had fallen out of love with. In Betjeman's day, people wanted to knock it down, now people are raving over St Pancras!

Once upon a time local politicians took municipal pride in building libraries and swimming pools and so on. It was the sign of a civilised age made possible by the industrial revolution. A by-product was that these people lived on in posterity with buildings named after them, and a statue, if they were lucky, at the very least a plaque.

What a contrast with today's municipal dwarves. What will Robert Rams be remembered for, I wonder? "On this spot there stood a library; on this spot a museum, all closed by Robert Rams." Let us now praise famous men.


baarnett said...

The big 'lovers' sculpture under the station clock is a disappointment, but the "freize" around its base is brilliant, and it is worth a special visit.

Mrs Angry said...

maybe we should have a competition for a Betjeman style poem on the subject of Robert Rams - I'm inspired by the Joan Hunter Dunn tribute re Suffolk's Andrea Hill ... hmm ... where's my One Barnet biro

baarnett said...

"Come friendly bombs, fall on Rob,
He isn't fit for office now."

Citizen Barnet said...

Very good, Barnett. I have thought of adapting some Betjeman poems before.

Since he wrote about the suburbs with a degree of exasperation, we could have a lot of fun!