THE ENGLISH TOWN IN THE LAST HUNDRED YEARS: The Rede Lecture, 1956.

First edition, first printing. Inscribed association copy. Original pale green wrappers with folded flaps (rough-cut to the rear), black lettering to front and rear panels, saddle-stitched binding. A better than very good copy, the binding firm and square, the contents clean throughout. Not price-clipped (3s. 6d. net to the front flap).

Inscribed in black ink to the title page, "Jill Elizabeth Duncan Menzies / from / John Peabody Betjeman / 1956" ("To" has been inserted in pencil before the ink inscription). The dedicatee was Betjeman's (live-in) secretary. In his biography of the poet, Bevis Hillier writes "In 1950 another love-interest came into John's life: his new secretary Jill Menzies, whom he called 'Freckly Jill'. She was twenty-two, and Oxford graduate who had taken a course at St Godric's Secretarial College. [...] In May 1953, much to John's dismay, [she] resigned. 'I think I was getting too fond of him', she said. [...] This may have been a polite way of saying, 'I think he was getting too fond of me'". The affectionately mock-formal inscription to this pamphlet (three years after her resignation) suggests that they remained on good terms. The title of the lecture is clarified by the dedication, printed in block capitals to the verso of the title page: "DEDICATED TO / WHOEVER IS MINISTER OF / FUEL & POWER AND / PARTICULARLY HIS PERMANENT OFFICIALS / IN THE HOPE THAT THEY / WILL SAVE WHAT IS LEFT OF / ENGLAND'S BEAUTY". (Peterson A23)

Stock code: 19565

£195

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Author:

BETJEMAN, John

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