John Betjeman was a British poet and writer on architecture. He was born in Highgate, London, to a furniture-maker of Dutch ancestry and was educated at Marlborough College before going to Oxford. He left Magdalen College, Oxford, without a degree when he neglected his work. He was employed as a teacher at a preparatory school and later worked as a journalist before joining the civil service.
When the Second World War broke out, Betjeman was rejected for active service and went to work for the Ministry of Information. This led to a posting as press attaché to Sir John Maffey, Britain's High Commissioner in Ireland. The Betjemans lived at Collinstown House, Clondalkin from 1941 to 1943, and their daughter Candida was born there.
Both Mr. and Mrs. Betjeman were registered as eligible for service on the Select Vestry of St. John's Church and John regularly read the Lessons.
After the war, Betjeman resumed his career as poet and architectural critic, dividing his time between London, rural Oxfordshire and the Cornish coast which he had loved as a child.
He was appointed Poet Laureate in 1972. He died in 1984, aged 77, and is buried in Cornwall.