Cat no. 76

John Betjeman Goes By Train

Running time9:48 Black & White Sound 1961 King's Lynn, Norfolk

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John Betjeman journeys from Kings Lynn, to Sandringham, Wolferton Station, Snettishman, Heacham, and finishes his journey at Hunstanton, talking about each of these places along the way.


DocumentaryTelevisionTravel / Travelogue

John Betjeman boarding a train at Kings Lynn Station. He speaks a commentary over the journey. Betjeman is seen on the train and there are shots of the scenery out of the window, beginning with the flat wash land. At Sandringham, the scenery changed to a cross between Scotland and Surrey and then the train approaches Wolferton Station. Betjeman alights here to explore the architecture of the station. He highlights the local carrstone and the vista of Sandringham through the archway. There are no posters at the station; the signal box has been designed to blend with the cottage next door. Betjeman mentions that the station has won 30 prizes in the Eastern Region.

He continues to examine the old station lanterns and the interior of the waiting room. The latter has a pelargonium on a polished occasional table as well as pictures on the walls and a rug on the floor. Boarding the next train, Betjeman continues to Snettisham, (which he pronounces 'Snettsham') in unadulterated North Norfolk. Snettisham is cut in letters in the box hedge. The cast iron supports of the bench are designed as the G.E.R. logo. Betjeman also points out, not without irony, the advertising posters at the station, one of which is urging people to visit Bavaria.

Back on the train, John Betjeman shows the scenery from the train; Ken Hill Wood, the flat marshland at Heacham, including the chalets and caravans by the railway line. He arrives at Hunstanton Station (pronounced 'Hunston') where he gives up his ticket to the ticket collector. He walks to the promenade, showing the Green behind him and Hunstanton pier in the background.

Background Information:

The railway line between Kings Lynn and Hunstanton opened on October 3rd, 1862 and closed on May 5th, 1969. Wolferton Station is preserved as an example of a Royal station and is open to the public. Hunstanton pier was washed away in the high tides of January, 1978.

This film was originally made as part of a BBC East Outlook programme, `All Along the Line'. British Transport Films provided a camera crew for this part of the film on the condition that they could have a copy for their archive. It was released at a later date as a British Transport Film. Also included in the original programme was an item made by Ted Chamberlain in Leiston regarding the proposed closure of the Leiston to Aldeburgh branch line.

Featured People:

Sir John Betjeman

Featured Buildings:

Kings Lynn Station; Wolferton Church; Wolferton Station; Hunstanton Pier; Snettisham Station; Hunstanton Station

Malcolm Freegard

John Betjeman

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