Wednesday, March 04, 2009

John Betjeman and St Pancras

In February the RWS Friends Sketching Group visited St Pancras Station for our monthly outing. I realised that I'd not been to St Pancras since all the construction work for its new role as St Pancras International - the London based terminus for the Eurostar had been completed and the visit was quite a revelation!

I've got three posts about the trip starting with this sketch.

Statue of Sir John Betjeman
8,5" x 11.5", pencil and coloured pencils in sketchbook

copyright Katherine Tyrrell

We all had to meet by the very splendid Sir John Betjeman statue which is at the platform level above the amazing collection of shops which now inhabit the Undercroft.

He's a bit bigger than lifesize and is cast in bronze which has patinated to a lovely turquoise colour. It's a very popular statue - this is the sketch which excludes all the people who came up to get their photo taken standing next to him and it's also minus the teddie bears that one very silly man kept trying to stuff into the space made by his arm!

Sir John Betjeman
was instrumental in saving St Pancras station as he was a huge fan of both Victorian architecture and trains.

He was also the Poet Laureate and most people's favourite poet for quite a few years.
He became Poet Laureate in 1972, and this combined with his popularity as a television performer ensured that his poetry eventually reached an audience enormous by the standards of the time. Like Tennyson, he appeals to a very wide public and manages to voice the thoughts and aspirations of many ordinary people while retaining the respect of many of his fellow poets. This is partly because of the apparently simple traditional metrical structures and rhymes he uses (but not nearly as simple as they might appear).
Wikipedia - John Betjeman
Here are some articles written about him at the time St Pancras reopened after its Eurostar update.
and this is the website of Martin Jennings, the sculptor who created the statue - with some photographs of process and comments.

More sketches from St Pancras to come.

Links

4 comments:

  1. And a wonderful poet too! My headmistress always said that our school always reminded her of St Pancras.

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  2. Maybe she meant the hotel outside rather than the station itself? It's certainly an amazing structure.

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  3. I think she meant the station - the school was one of the Victorian monstrosities complete with gargoyles!

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  4. Beautiful drawing of the statue, Katherine - it made me smile.

    ReplyDelete

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