Category Archives: Dear Bloody England

‘Loving the Alien’: David Bowie and Me


I never met David Bowie. But I knew him. Growing up I digested every word and image I could. I bought illicit bootlegs, Wembley Wizard, Live in Stockholm, Soft in the Middle, and treasured my 7” copies of Prettiest Star … Continue reading

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No.5 Dear Bloody England. ‘Half Spam Half Biscuit’ or ‘A Builder formerly known as Prince’


John Betjeman loved Cornwall. His impassioned lyric ‘Cornish Cliffs’ runs Small fields and tellymasts and wires and poles, With, as the everlasting ocean rolls, Two chapels built for half a hundred souls. Today, 25-strong congregations have more than halved. The … Continue reading

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No.4 Dear Bloody England. ‘Heritage in the Rail Age II’


 Architecture is consumable −as with any used and abused everyday product decay is inevitable and authenticity fated. John Betjeman was wise to such philosophy when, in 1960, he wrote ‘Heritage of the Rail Age’ in the Daily Telegraph. Apparent in … Continue reading

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No.3 Dear Bloody England. ‘Carry on Poundbury’.


There are 28,000 architects on the Royal Institute of British Architects database – 8,000 more than in 1960 when John Betjeman wrote ‘Contemporary without Conscience’ in the Daily Telegraph.  His article discussed the state of the architectural profession as it … Continue reading

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No.2 Dear Bloody England. ‘Bridges’


Betjeman was indifferent towards bridges. Whether cast iron or post-war concrete, or from the first Elizabethan age or the second, he was always happy to proffer an astute observation or informed opinion. One such remark opened his 1960 Daily Telegraph … Continue reading

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‘Dear Bloody England’: Betjeman’s Britain Revisited.


What irked John Betjeman more than anything was a lack of respect for the mundane. Roads are a good example. In his ‘Men and Buildings’ feature that ran in the Telegraph between 1958 and 1964 he discussed topics as diverse … Continue reading

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