Marble Arch to Edgware

Duration: 27 minutes

First transmitted in 1968, the poet John Betjeman goes on a journey from Marble Arch to Edgware reciting four specially written poems: 'How beautiful the London air,' 'Ho for the Kilburn High Road,' 'The sisters Progress and Destruction dwell' and 'One after one rise these empty consecutives'. Along the way he pauses at places of interest such as the hidden Marble Arch police station from where, since 1851, a hundred policemen could lie in wait ready to emerge at the first hint of trouble. After bemoaning the loss of the Metropolitan Theatre of Variety to make way for a car park and reminiscing about the 1920s air pageants from Hendon Aerodrome, Betjeman arrives "at Edgware, a Middlesex small town that was."

  • BBC Four London Collection

    This programme is part of a collection of BBC programmes celebrating the people and places of London. Available online now. 

    Go the BBC Four London Collection
  • About BBC Four Collection programmes

    Programmes are selected, in part, for their historical context and reflect the broadcast standards and attitudes of their time, which may not accord to some current BBC editorial guidelines. We aim to select programmes which can be shown in their entirety but in some cases edits are required.


Julian Jebb
John Betjeman
Tony Woollard


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    Celebrating the people and places of London.

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