Sir John Betjeman was an English poet and broadcaster who described himself in Who's Who as a "poet and hack". He was Poet Laureate of the United Kingdom from 1972 until his death, he was a founding member of the Victorian Society and a passionate defender of Victorian architecture. He began his career as a journalist and ended it as one of the most popular British Poets Laureate and a much-loved figure on British television. Betjeman was born John Betjemann, he was the son of a prosperous silverware maker of Dutch descent. His parents and Ernest Betjemann, had a family firm at 34–42 Pentonville Road which manufactured the kind of ornamental household furniture and gadgets distinctive to Victorians. During the First World War the family name was changed to the less German-looking Betjeman, his father's forebears had come from the present day Netherlands more than a century earlier, setting up their home and business in Islington and during the Fourth Anglo-Dutch War had added the extra "-n" to avoid the anti-Dutch sentiment existing at the time.
Betjeman was baptised at St Anne's Church, Highgate Rise, a 19th-century church at the foot of Highgate West Hill. The family lived at Parliament Hill Mansions in the Lissenden Gardens private estate in Gospel Oak in north London. In 1909, the Betjemanns moved half a mile north to more opulent Highgate. From West Hill they lived in the reflected glory of the Burdett-Coutts estate: Betjeman's early schooling was at the local Byron House and Highgate School, where he was taught by poet T. S. Eliot. After this, he boarded at the Dragon School preparatory school in North Oxford and Marlborough College, a public school in Wiltshire. In his penultimate year, he joined the secret Society of Amici in which he was a contemporary of both Louis MacNeice and Graham Shepard, he founded a satirical magazine that lampooned Marlborough's obsession with sport. While at school, his exposure to the works of Arthur Machen won him over to High Church Anglicanism, a conversion of importance to his writing and conception of the arts.
Betjeman left Marlborough in July 1925. Betjeman entered the University of Oxford with difficulty, having failed the mathematics portion of the university's matriculation exam, Responsions, he was, admitted as a commoner at Magdalen College and entered the newly created School of English Language and Literature. At Oxford, Betjeman made little use of the academic opportunities, his tutor, a young C. S. Lewis, regarded him as an "idle prig" and Betjeman in turn considered Lewis unfriendly and uninspiring as a teacher. Betjeman disliked the coursework's emphasis on linguistics, dedicated most of his time to cultivating his social life and his interest in English ecclesiastical architecture, to private literary pursuits. At Oxford he was a friend of Maurice Bowra to be Warden of Wadham. Betjeman had a poem published in Isis, the university magazine, served as editor of the Cherwell student newspaper during 1927, his first book of poems was printed with the help of fellow student Edward James. He famously brought his teddy bear Archibald Ormsby-Gore up to Magdalen with him, the memory of which inspired his Oxford contemporary Evelyn Waugh to include Sebastian Flyte's teddy Aloysius in Brideshead Revisited.
Much of this period of his life is recorded in his blank verse autobiography Summoned by Bells published in 1960 and made into a television film in 1976. It is a common misapprehension, cultivated by Betjeman himself, that he did not complete his degree because he failed to pass the compulsory holy scripture examination, known colloquially as "Divvers", short for "Divinity". In Hilary term 1928, Betjeman failed Divinity for the second time, he had to leave the university for the Trinity term to prepare for a retake of the exam. Betjeman wrote to the Secretary of the Tutorial Board at Magdalen, G. C. Lee, asking to be entered for the Pass School, a set of examinations taken on rare occasions by undergraduates who are deemed unlikely to achieve an honours degree. In Summoned by Bells Betjeman claims that his tutor, C. S. Lewis, said "You'd have only got a third" – but he had informed the tutorial board that he thought Betjeman would not achieve an honours degree of any class. Permission to sit the Pass School was granted.
Betjeman famously decided to offer a paper in Welsh. Osbert Lancaster tells the story that a tutor came by train twice a week from Aberystwyth to teach Betjeman. However, Jesus College had a number of Welsh tutors who more would have taught him. Betjeman had to leave at the end of the Michaelmas term, 1928. Betjeman did pass his Divinity examination on his third try but was'sent down' after failing the Pass School, he had achieved a satisfactory result in only one of the three required papers. Betjeman's academic failure at Oxford rankled with him for the rest of his life and he was never reconciled with C. S. Lewis, towards whom he nursed a bitter detestation; this situation was complicated by his enduring love of Oxford, from which he accepted an honorary doctorate of letters in 1974. Betjeman left Oxford without a degree. Whilst there, however, he had made the acquaintance of people who would influence his work, including Louis MacNeice and W. H. Auden, he worked as a private secretary, school teacher and film critic for the Evening Standard, where he wrote for their high-society gossip column, the Londoner's Diary.
He was employed by the Architectural Review between 1930 and 1935, as a full-time assistant editor, following their publishing of some of his fre
Arthur Wing Pinero
Sir Arthur Wing Pinero was an English playwright and, early in his career, actor. Pinero was drawn to the theatre from an early age, became a professional actor at the age of 19, he gained experience as a supporting actor in British provincial theatres, from 1876 to 1881 was a member of Henry Irving's company, based at the Lyceum Theatre, London. Pinero wrote his first play in 1877. Seven years having written 15 more, three of them successful, he abandoned acting and became a full-time playwright, he first became known for a series of farces. During the 1890s he turned to serious subjects; the Second Mrs Tanqueray, dealing with a woman with a scandalous past, was regarded as shocking, but ran well and made a large profit. His other successes included Trelawny of the "Wells", a romantic comedy celebrating the theatre and new, The Gay Lord Quex, about a reformed roué and a feisty young woman. A venture into opera, with a libretto for The Beauty Stone, was not a success, Pinero thereafter stuck to his familiar genre of society dramas and comedies.
Although he continued to write throughout the first three decades of the 20th century and into the fourth, its is Pinero's work from the 1880s and 1890s that has endured. There have been numerous revivals of many of his plays. By his years, Pinero was seen as old-fashioned, his last plays were not successful, he died in London at the age of 79. Pinero was born in London, the only son, second of three children, of John Daniel Pinero, his wife Lucy, née Daines. Pinero's father and grandfather were London solicitors, they were descended from the Pinheiro family, described by Pinero's biographer John Dawick as "a distinguished family of Sephardic Jews who rose to prominence in medieval Portugal before suffering the persecutions of the Inquisition". Pinero's branch of the family fled to England, his grandfather abandoned the Jewish faith, became a member of the Church of England, married a Christian Englishwoman, Margaret Wing, became a successful lawyer. His younger son, Pinero's father took up the legal profession, but was much less successful.
Pinero were not affluent. He attended Spa Fields Chapel charity school in Exmouth Street, London until the age of ten, when he went to work in his father's office. John Daniel Pinero died in May 1871, leaving little money. To contribute to the family income, Pinero continued to work as a solicitor's clerk, earning £1 a week. In the evenings he studied elocution at the Birkbeck Scientific Institution, he and his fellow students staged several productions of plays, Pinero became irresistibly drawn to the theatre. In May 1874 he abandoned the legal profession and joined R. H. Wyndham at the Theatre Royal, Edinburgh as a "general utility" actor, he made his professional debut in the small role of a groom in an adaptation of Wilkie Collins's The Woman in White. As a junior member of Wyndham's company Pinero gained experience in a range of roles, supporting E. A. Sothern in Our American Cousin, Charles Mathews in the Balzac adaptation A Game of Speculation, graduating to larger parts such as Crosstree in Black-Eyed Susan.
His engagement in Edinburgh came to a sudden end in February 1875 when the theatre was destroyed by fire. He was fortunate in being offered another provincial engagement, at the Royal Alexandra Theatre, where he began to be noticed by the press, gaining approving reviews for his acting in supporting roles. A production of Miss Gwilt, an adaptation of Wilkie Collins's Armadale, starring Ada Cavendish, was reported by the theatrical paper The Era as "a genuine triumph"; the production was not the hoped-for success in London, but Pinero received good notices for his performance, when the run finished after ten weeks he was engaged by Henry Irving's manager, Mrs Bateman, as a member of the supporting cast for Irving's forthcoming provincial tour. Although the tour was uncongenial, Pinero gathered some critical notices, he continued to work as a supporting actor to Irving for five years, he first appeared at the Lyceum, Irving's London base, in December 1876 and played a total of 21 parts there between and 1881.
His Shakespearean roles were Lord Stanley in Richard III, Rosencrantz in Hamlet, Guildenstern in Hamlet, Salarino in The Merchant of Venice, Roderigo in Othello. In a revival of the melodrama The Bells, with which Irving's name was synonymous, he played Dr Zimmer. While in Irving's company Pinero wrote his first plays, he began with £200 a Year, a one-act comedy written in a single afternoon for a colleague to present at a benefit performance in 1877. The play was well received and was given several further performances, bringing Pinero's name a modest amount of publicity, his first full-length play, La Comète, was staged in a theatre in Croydon in 1878, he wrote four more one-act comedies, staged in London in 1878–1880, playing in two of them – Daisy's Escape and Bygones – at the Lyceum. Another of these, Hester's Mystery, written for the comic actor J. L. Toole, ran for 300 performances at the Folly Theatre. Pinero's profile as a playwright was further raised by The Money Spinner, a full-length comedy, first given at the Prince's Theatre, Manchester in November 1880 and at the St James's in London in January 1881.
The theatre historian J. P. Wearing regards the play as of particular importance in the histo
Keble Road is a short road running east-west in central Oxford, England. To the west is the southern end of the Banbury Road with St Giles' Church opposite. To the east is Parks Road with the University Parks opposite. Blackhall Road leads off the road to the south near the western end. On the south side for much of its length is the Victorian brick Keble College, in particular its large chapel on the corner with Parks Road. Opposite this to the north is a row of Victorian terrace houses owned by the University of Oxford; the houses nearest Parks Road have been converted into the Oxford University Computing Laboratory with its newer Wolfson Building added behind in 1993, the Oxford e-Science Building in 2006. The University's 1960s Denys Wilkinson Building is on the corner with Banbury Road; the Department of Theoretical Physics is at 1 Keble Road. The Archaeology Research Laboratory is at number 6; the area to the north of Keble Road, bounded by Banbury Road and Parks Road, is known as the Keble Road Triangle and forms part of Oxford University's Science Area, with a number of its science department buildings located here.
A blue plaque commemorating James Legge and translator, first Professor of Chinese at Oxford, was unveiled at 3 Keble Road, on 16 May 2018. Sub-departments of the Department of Physics of the University of Oxford, located on Keble Road: Particle physics Astrophysics Theoretical physics
Oxford University Museum of Natural History
The Oxford University Museum of Natural History, sometimes known as the Oxford University Museum or OUMNH, is a museum displaying many of the University of Oxford's natural history specimens, located on Parks Road in Oxford, England. It contains a lecture theatre, used by the university's chemistry and mathematics departments; the museum provides the only public access into the adjoining Pitt Rivers Museum. The university's Honour School of Natural Science started in 1850, but the facilities for teaching were scattered around the city of Oxford in the various colleges; the university's collection of anatomical and natural history specimens were spread around the city. Regius Professor of Medicine, Sir Henry Acland, initiated the construction of the museum between 1855 and 1860, to bring together all the aspects of science around a central display area. In 1858, Acland gave a lecture on the museum, setting forth the reason for the building's construction, he viewed that the university had been one-sided in the forms of study it offered—chiefly theology, the classics and history—and that the opportunity should be offered to learn of the natural world and obtain the "knowledge of the great material design of which the Supreme Master-Worker has made us a constituent part".
This idea, of Nature as the Second Book of God, was common in the 19th century. The largest portion of the museum's collections consist of the natural history specimens from the Ashmolean Museum, including the specimens collected by John Tradescant the elder and his son of the same name, William Burchell and geologist William Buckland; the Christ Church Museum donated its osteological and physiological specimens, many of which were collected by Acland. The construction of the building was accomplished through money earned from the sale of Bibles. Several departments moved within the building—astronomy, experimental physics, chemistry, zoology, anatomy and medicine; as the departments grew in size over the years, they moved to new locations along South Parks Road, which remains the home of the university's Science Area. The last department to leave the building was the entomology department, which moved into the zoology building in 1978. However, there is still a working entomology laboratory on the first floor of the museum building.
Between 1885 and 1886 a new building to the east of the museum was constructed to house the ethnological collections of General Augustus Pitt Rivers—the Pitt Rivers Museum. In 19th-century thinking, it was important to separate objects made by the hand of God from objects made by the hand of man; the neo-Gothic building was designed by the Irish architects Thomas Newenham Deane and Benjamin Woodward Woodward. The museum's design was directly influenced by the writings of critic John Ruskin, who involved himself by making various suggestions to Woodward during construction. Construction began in 1855, the building was ready for occupancy in 1860; the adjoining building that houses the Pitt Rivers Museum was the work of Thomas Manly Deane, son of Thomas Newenham Deane. It was built between 1885 and 1886; the museum consists of a large square court with a glass roof, supported by cast iron pillars, which divide the court into three aisles. Cloistered arcades run around the ground and first floor of the building, with stone columns each made from a different British stone, selected by geologist John Phillips.
The ornamentation of the stonework and iron pillars incorporates natural forms such as leaves and branches, combining the Pre-Raphaelite style with the scientific role of the building. Statues of eminent men of science stand around the ground floor of the court—from Aristotle and Bacon through to Darwin and Linnaeus. Although the university paid for the construction of the building, the ornamentation was funded by public subscription, much of it remains incomplete; the Irish stone carvers O'Shea and Whelan had been employed to create lively freehand carvings in the Gothic manner. When funding dried up, they offered to work unpaid, but they were accused by members of the University Convocation of "defacing" the building by adding unauthorised work. According to Acland, the O'Shea brothers responded by caricaturing the members of Convocation as parrots and owls in the carving over the building's entrance. Acland insists. A significant debate in the history of evolutionary biology took place in the museum in 1860 at a meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science.
Representatives of the Church and science debated the subject of evolution, the event is viewed as symbolising the defeat of a literalist interpretation of the Genesis creation narrative. However, there are few eye-witness accounts of the debate, most accounts of the debate were written by scientists; the biologist Thomas Huxley and Samuel Wilberforce, the Bishop of Oxford, are cast as the main protagonists in the debate. Huxley was a staunch supporter of Darwin's theories. Wilberforce had supported the construction of the museum as the centre for the science departments, for the study of the wonders of God's creations. On the Wednesday of the meeting, 27 June 1860, botanist Charles Daubeny presented a paper on plant sexuality, which made reference to Darwin's theory of natural selection. Richard Owen, a zoologist who believed that evolution was governed by divine influence, criticised the theory pointing out that the brain of the gorilla was more different from that of man than that of other primates.
Huxley stated that he would respond to this comment in print, declined to continue the debate. However, rumours began to spread that the B
John Keble was an English churchman and poet, one of the leaders of the Oxford Movement. Keble College, was named after him. Keble was born on 25 April 1792 in Fairford, where his father, John Keble, was Vicar of Coln St. Aldwyns, he and his brother Thomas were educated at home by their father. In 1806 John won a scholarship to Oxford. There, he performed brilliantly, in 1810 achieved a Double First Class in Latin and Mathematics. In 1811, he won the University Prizes both for the English and Latin Essays and became a Fellow of Oriel College, Oxford, he was for some years a examiner in the University. While still at Oxford, he took Holy Orders in 1816, became first a curate to his father, curate of St Michael and St Martin's Church, Eastleach Martin in Gloucestershire while still residing at Oxford. On the death of his mother in 1823, he left Oxford and returned to live with his father and two surviving sisters at Fairford. Between 1824 and 1835, he was three times offered a position and each time declined on the grounds that he ought not separate himself from his father and only surviving sister.
In 1828, he was not elected. Meantime, he had been writing The Christian Year, a book of poems for the Sundays and feast days of the church year, it appeared in 1827 and was effective in spreading Keble's devotional and theological views. It was intended as an aid to devotion following the services of the Prayer Book. Though at first anonymous, its authorship soon became known, with Keble in 1831 appointed to the Chair of Poetry at Oxford, which he held until 1841. Victorian scholar Michael Wheeler calls The Christian Year "the most popular volume of verse in the nineteenth century". In his essay on Tractarian Aesthetics and the Romantic Tradition, Gregory Goodwin claims that The Christian Year is "Keble's greatest contribution to the Oxford Movement and to English literature." As evidence, Goodwin cites E. B. Pusey's report that 95 editions of this devotional text were printed during Keble's lifetime, "at the end of the year following his death, the number had arisen to a hundred-and-nine". By the time that the copyright expired in 1873, over 375,000 copies had been sold in Britain and 158 editions had been published.
Despite its widespread appeal among the Victorian readers, the popularity of Keble's The Christian Year faded in the 20th century despite the familiarity of certain well-known hymns. At Oxford, Keble met John Coleridge who introduced him to the writings not only of his uncle, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, but of Wordsworth, he dedicated his Praelectiones to and admired Wordsworth, who once offered to go over The Christian Year with a view to correcting the English. To the same college friend, he was indebted for an introduction to Robert Southey, whom he found to be "a noble and delightful character," and the writings of the three Wordsworth, had much to do with the formation of Keble's own mind as a poet. In 1833, his famous Assize Sermon on "National Apostasy" gave the first impulse to the Oxford Movement known as the Tractarian movement, it marked the opening of a term of the civil and criminal courts and is addressed to the judges and officers of the court, exhorting them to deal justly. Keble contributed seven pieces for Tracts for the Times, a series of short papers dealing with faith and practice.
Along with his colleagues, including John Henry Newman and Edward Pusey, he became a leading light in the movement but did not follow Newman into the Catholic Church. In 1835, his father died, Keble and his sister retired from Fairford to Coln. In the same year, he married Miss Clarke and the vicarage of Hursley, becoming vacant, was offered to him. In 1836, he settled in Hursley and remained for the rest of his life as a parish priest at All Saints Church. In 1841, Charlotte Mary Yonge, resident at Otterbourne House in the adjacent village of Otterbourne, where Keble was responsible for building a new church, compiled The Child's Christian Year: Hymns for every Sunday and Holy-Day to which Keble contributed four poems, including Bethlehem, above all cities blest. In 1857, he wrote one of his more important works, his treatise on Eucharistical Adoration, written in support of George Denison, attacked for his views on the Eucharist. In 1830, he published his edition of Hooker's Works. In 1838, he began to edit, in conjunction with Newman, the Library of the Fathers.
A volume of Academical and Occasional Sermons appeared in 1847. Other works were a Life of Bishop of Sodor and Man. After his death, Letters of Spiritual Counsel and 12 volumes of Parish Sermons were published. Extracts from a number of his verses found their way into popular collections of Hymns for Public Worship, such as "The Voice that Breathed o'er Eden", "Sun of my soul, Thou Saviour dear, "Blest are the pure in heart" and "New every morning is the love". Lyra Innocentium was being composed while Keble was stricken by what he always seems to have regarded as the great sorrow of his life, the decision of Newman to leave the Church of England for Catholicism. Keble died in Bournemouth on 29 March 1866 at the Hermitage Hotel, after visiting the area to try and recover from a long term illness as he believed the sea air had therapeutic qualities, he is buried in All Saints' churchyard, Hursley. Keble has been described asHe was without ambition, with no care for the possession of power or influence, hating show and excitement, distrustful of his own abilities....
Though shy and awkward with strangers, he was happy and at ease among his friends, their love and sympathy drew out all his droll playfulness of wit
Gothic Revival architecture
Gothic Revival is an architectural movement popular in the Western world that began in the late 1740s in England. Its popularity grew in the early 19th century, when serious and learned admirers of neo-Gothic styles sought to revive medieval Gothic architecture, in contrast to the neoclassical styles prevalent at the time. Gothic Revival draws features from the original Gothic style, including decorative patterns, lancet windows, hood moulds and label stops; the Gothic Revival movement emerged in 18th-century England. Its roots were intertwined with philosophical movements associated with Catholicism and a re-awakening of High Church or Anglo-Catholic belief concerned by the growth of religious nonconformism; the "Anglo-Catholicism" tradition of religious belief and style became widespread for its intrinsic appeal in the third quarter of the 19th century. Gothic Revival architecture varied in its faithfulness to both the ornamental style and principles of construction of its medieval original, sometimes amounting to little more than pointed window frames and a few touches of Gothic decoration on a building otherwise on a wholly 19th-century plan and using contemporary materials and construction methods.
In parallel to the ascendancy of neo-Gothic styles in 19th-century England, interest spread to the continent of Europe, in Australia, Sierra Leone, South Africa and to the Americas. The influence of the Revival had peaked by the 1870s. New architectural movements, sometimes related as in the Arts and Crafts movement, sometimes in outright opposition, such as Modernism, gained ground, by the 1930s the architecture of the Victorian era was condemned or ignored; the 20th century saw a revival of interest, manifested in the United Kingdom by the establishment of the Victorian Society in 1958. The rise of Evangelicalism in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries saw in England a reaction in the High church movement which sought to emphasise the continuity between the established church and the pre-Reformation Catholic church. Architecture, in the form of the Gothic Revival, became one of the main weapons in the High church's armoury; the Gothic Revival was paralleled and supported by "medievalism", which had its roots in antiquarian concerns with survivals and curiosities.
As "industrialisation" progressed, a reaction against machine production and the appearance of factories grew. Proponents of the picturesque such as Thomas Carlyle and Augustus Pugin took a critical view of industrial society and portrayed pre-industrial medieval society as a golden age. To Pugin, Gothic architecture was infused with the Christian values, supplanted by classicism and were being destroyed by industrialisation. Gothic Revival took on political connotations. In English literature, the architectural Gothic Revival and classical Romanticism gave rise to the Gothic novel genre, beginning with The Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole, 4th Earl of Orford, inspired a 19th-century genre of medieval poetry that stems from the pseudo-bardic poetry of "Ossian". Poems such as "Idylls of the King" by Alfred Tennyson, 1st Baron Tennyson recast modern themes in medieval settings of Arthurian romance. In German literature, the Gothic Revival had a grounding in literary fashions. Gothic architecture began at the Basilica of Saint Denis near Paris, the Cathedral of Sens in 1140 and ended with a last flourish in the early 16th century with buildings like Henry VII's Chapel at Westminster.
However, Gothic architecture did not die out in the 16th century but instead lingered in on-going cathedral-building projects. In Bologna, in 1646, the Baroque architect Carlo Rainaldi constructed Gothic vaults for the Basilica of San Petronio in Bologna, under construction since 1390. Guarino Guarini, a 17th-century Theatine monk active in Turin, recognized the "Gothic order" as one of the primary systems of architecture and made use of it in his practice. Gothic architecture survived in an urban setting during the 17th century, as shown in Oxford and Cambridge, where some additions and repairs to Gothic buildings were considered to be more in keeping with the style of the original structures than contemporary Baroque. Sir Christopher Wren's Tom Tower for Christ Church, University of Oxford, Nicholas Hawksmoor's west towers of Westminster Abbey, blur the boundaries between what is called "Gothic survival" and the Gothic Revival. Throughout France in the 16th and 17th centuries, churches such as St-Eustache continued to be built following gothic forms cloaked in classical details, until the arrival of Baroque architecture.
In the mid-18th century, with the rise of Romanticism, an increased in
John Ruskin was the leading English art critic of the Victorian era, as well as an art patron, watercolourist, a prominent social thinker and philanthropist. He wrote on subjects as varied as geology, myth, literature, education and political economy, his writing styles and literary forms were varied. He penned essays and treatises and lectures, travel guides and manuals, letters and a fairy tale, he made detailed sketches and paintings of rocks, birds and architectural structures and ornamentation. The elaborate style that characterised his earliest writing on art gave way in time to plainer language designed to communicate his ideas more effectively. In all of his writing, he emphasised the connections between nature and society, he was hugely influential in the latter half of the 19th century and up to the First World War. After a period of relative decline, his reputation has improved since the 1960s with the publication of numerous academic studies of his work. Today, his ideas and concerns are recognised as having anticipated interest in environmentalism and craft.
Ruskin first came to widespread attention with the first volume of Modern Painters, an extended essay in defence of the work of J. M. W. Turner in which he argued that the principal role of the artist is "truth to nature." From the 1850s, he championed the Pre-Raphaelites. His work focused on social and political issues. Unto This Last marked the shift in emphasis. In 1869, Ruskin became the first Slade Professor of Fine Art at the University of Oxford, where he established the Ruskin School of Drawing. In 1871, he began his monthly "letters to the workmen and labourers of Great Britain", published under the title Fors Clavigera. In the course of this complex and personal work, he developed the principles underlying his ideal society; as a result, he founded the Guild of an organisation that endures today. Ruskin was the only child of first cousins, his father, John James Ruskin, was a sherry and wine importer, founding partner and de facto business manager of Ruskin and Domecq. John James was born and brought up in Edinburgh, Scotland, to a mother from Glenluce and a father from Hertfordshire.
His wife, Margaret Cock, was the daughter of a publican in Croydon. She had joined the Ruskin household when she became companion to Catherine. John James had hoped to practice law, was articled as a clerk in London, his father, John Thomas Ruskin, described as a grocer, was an incompetent businessman. To save the family from bankruptcy, John James, whose prudence and success were in stark contrast to his father, took on all debts, settling the last of them in 1832. John James and Margaret were engaged in 1809, but opposition to the union from John Thomas, the problem of his debts, delayed the couple's wedding, they married, without celebration, in 1818. John James died on 3 March 1864 and is buried in the churchyard of St John the Evangelist, Croydon. Ruskin was born on 8 February 1819 at 54 Hunter Street, Brunswick Square, south of St Pancras railway station, his childhood was shaped by the contrasting influences of his father and mother, both of whom were fiercely ambitious for him. John James Ruskin helped to develop his son's Romanticism.
They shared a passion for the works of Byron and Walter Scott. They visited Scott's home, Abbotsford, in 1838. Margaret Ruskin, an Evangelical Christian, more cautious and restrained than her husband, taught young John to read the Bible from beginning to end, to start all over again, committing large portions to memory, its language and parables had a profound and lasting effect on his writing. Ruskin's childhood was spent from 1823 at 28 Herne Hill, near the village of Camberwell in South London, he had few friends of his own age, but it was not the friendless and toyless experience he claimed it was in his autobiography, Praeterita. He was educated at home by his parents and private tutors, from 1834 to 1835 he attended the school in Peckham run by the progressive Evangelical, Thomas Dale. Ruskin heard Dale lecture in 1836 at King's College, where Dale was the first Professor of English Literature. Ruskin went on to enroll and complete his studies at King's College, where he prepared for Oxford under Dale's tutelage.
Ruskin was influenced by the extensive and privileged travels he enjoyed in his childhood. It augmented his education, he sometimes accompanied his father on visits to business clients at their country houses, exposing him to English landscapes and paintings. Family tours took them to relatives in Perth, Scotland; as early as 1825, the family visited Belgium. Their continental tours became ambitious in scope, so that in 1833 they visited Strasbourg, Milan and Turin, places to which Ruskin returned, he developed his lifelong love of the Alps, in 1835 he first visited Venice, that'Paradise of cities' that provided the subject and symbolism of much of his work. The tours provided Ruskin with the opportunity to record his impressions of nature, he composed elegant if conventional poetry, some of, published in Friendship's Offering. His early notebooks