The Whitsun Weddings



Whitsun Weddings was the title poem of the collection - published 50 years ago - that made Larkin famous. Poet Jean Sprackland, who teaches Larkin and whose father, a librarian, met him professionally, retraces the train journey at the heart of the poem.

She considers Larkin's views about marriage, about class and about the 'state of Britain', against the background of the poet's own seemingly quiet life in the provincial town of Hull.

For many, Whitsun Weddings is Philip Larkin's most characteristic poem, expressing his detachment from the crowd and from love and marriage of the ordinary sort.

With James Booth, Andrew Motion, John Osborne and Larkin's surviving mistress, the 'third woman' Betty Mackereth.

Producer: Susan Marling

A Just Radio production for BBC Radio 4.

Poet Jean Sprackland takes the Hull train to recall Larkin's famous poem Whitsun Weddings.


A verse drama by Kathleen Jamie, based on the poem by Philip Larkin.

On a Whit weekend at the end of the 50s, Philip Larkin caught a train from Hull to LONDON which was boarded by a number of newlywed couples.

He turned his observations about them into one of his best-known poems.

Forty years later, three of the couples and the daughter of the fourth look back on that day.