MARTIN JENNINGS

Betjemen Sculpture

In November 2007 London's St.Pancras International station was reopened following a multimillion pound redevelopment as the new terminus for the Eurostar link with Paris and Brussels.

Standing on the platform is a larger-than-lifesize statue of poet John Betjeman by Martin Jennings. Betjeman had been the driving force behind efforts to save the site when it was threatened by development plans during the 1960s and the sculpture stands as a tribute from London and Continental Railways to the man who made their redevelopment of the station possible.

Work on the sculpture began in May 2007. A month earlier Martin had won a competition for the commission organised by arts consultancy Futurecity Limited. The 2.1m high sculpture was completed in clay within two months and casting began immediately in Gloucestershire-based foundry Pangolin Editions.

Martin with the status Martin at work on the statue Martin at work on the statue
Two images on right above © Sam Cramer.

While this was proceeding Martin and members of his workshop set about inscribing in Cumbrian slate the various quotations he had chosen from Betjeman's poetry that were subsequently set in the platform around the sculpture.

Slate disc set in the platform Slate disc set in the platform
Two of the slate discs set in the platform.

The completed work was jointly unveiled on 12th November by Betjeman's daughter Candida Lycett-Green and Poet Laureate Andrew Motion.

The statue in place The statue in place
The statue in place

"Jennings's amazing work is a fitting tribute for a national icon"
Justin Gowers, Guardian.

"Jennings's Betjeman - the best statue I've seen of a well-known figure - is so bright, so visually striking, that it's possible to believe that he actually embalmed the poet in bronze. Betjeman is so realistic that you think he's about to walk down the platform"
Duncan Hamilton, Yorkshire Post.

© Martin Jennings 2014. All rights reserved. Website design by Digiphilic Studios, Oxford.