Giles Wood wonders what he missed out on by not joining the family firm - tile merchants and fireplace manufacturers - as John Betjeman did
John Betjeman was born into a middle-class family in Edwardian Hampstead. His parents, Mabel and Ernest Betjemann (with the extra ‘n’), had a family firm which manufactured the kind of brown furniture and ornamental silver gadgets loved by the aspirational classes of the day. A sensitive, lonely child, he knew early on that he would grow up to forswear his participation in the family business, in favour of poetry and his love of architecture. A mixture of snobbishness and guarded affection for the world of commerce is a recurring theme in his verse: ...
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