– “Yes, it was Bedford Park the vision came from”
Sir John Betjeman is well known for helping save Bedford Park in the 1960s but like many intellectuals of his generation, his attitude to the suburbs – their design and their implied lifestyle – was ambivalent. The opening line (above) of Betjeman’s poem Narcissus provides the title for this lecture – playing on imagined memories of the 1890s, a period to which Betjeman returned with a mixture of satire and affection.
Alan Power, Leader of Historical Studies at the London School of Architecture, will explore Betjeman’s particular fondness for Bedford Park and his role in promoting its preservation at the Society’s annual Betjeman Lecture.
Alan is a prolific writer for magazines, author of numerous books and curator of popular exhibitions with a particular interest in Betjeman. You can read his full CV below.
Date: Wednesday 18 September
Venue: The Andrew Lloyd Webber Theatre, Arts Educational Schools, 14 Bath Road, Chiswick W4 1LY
Time: Drinks from 7.15pm. Lecture starts at 8.00pm.
To reserve your place now: order your ticket at £10 per person: online (plus a 70p administration fee per ticket) or pick one up from Postmark in Turnham Green Terrace. We urge you to reserve your tickets as soon as possible as the lecture is likely to prove very popular.
Alan Power – CV
If John Betjeman lived in his imagination in the 1890s, Alan Powers has lived by proxy in the 1930s, seeing the history of that period, as manifested in art, architecture and design, especially in Britain, as a subject requiring deeper study and investigation. His 2019 book, Bauhaus Goes West, (“sparkily written and rigorously researched” New Statesman), has continued work previously undertaken in studies of individuals and more general surveys of art forms and ideas.
He has taught in various university schools of architecture, and is currently leader of history and theory studies at the recently-founded London School of Architecture. In 2003, the Folio Society commissioned him as selector and introducer for an illustrated volume of John Betjeman’s poems, and in 2006 he contributed an essay on ‘Betjeman and Modernism’ to the catalogue of the Soane Museum centenary exhibition First and Last Loves, on Betjeman’s involvement with architecture.
Following a degree in History of Art from Cambridge, Alan received his doctorate on Architectural Education in Britain 1880-1914. As professor of architecture and cultural history at the University of Greenwich, Alan taught architectural history and theory for undergraduate and diploma courses from 1999-2012, and has been a frequent external examiner for PhD and other higher degrees. An expert on 20th century architecture, Alan was awarded an Honorary Fellowship of the Royal Institute of British Architects in 2008.