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Poetic

John Betjeman, St Pancras Station

The statue of JB gazing up at the magnificent roof at St Pancras is a tribute for the work he put in during the 1970s to help save the fabric of the station and the Midland Grand Hotel from demolition.

The Midland Grand Hotel

Middlesex by John Betjeman

Gaily into Ruislip Gardens Runs the red electric train, With a thousand Ta’s and Pardon’s Daintily alights Elaine; Hurries down the concrete station With a frown of concentration, Out into the outskirt’s edges Where a few surviving hedges Keep alive our lost Elysium – rural Middlesex again.

Well cut Windsmoor flapping lightly, Jacqmar scarf of mauve and green Hiding hair which, Friday nightly, Delicately drowns in Dreen; Fair Elaine the bobby-soxer, Fresh-complexioned with Innoxa, Gains the garden – father’s hobby – Hangs her Windsmoor in the lobby, Settles down to sandwich supper and the television screen.

Gentle Brent, I used to know you Wandering Wembley-wards at will, Now what change your waters show you In the meadowlands you fill! Recollect the elm-trees misty And the footpaths climbing twisty Under cedar-shaded palings, Low laburnum-leaned-on railings Out of Northolt on and upward to the heights of Harrow hill.

Parish of enormous hayfields Perivale stood all alone, And from Greenford scent of mayfields Most enticingly was blown Over market gardens tidy, Taverns for the bona fide, Cockney singers, cockney shooters, Murray Poshes, Lupin Pooters, Long in Kensal Green and Highgate silent under soot and stone.

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