Enough of the prelude... I was reading some publication or other and they made reference to fifty literary themed benches that were scattered around London and there was also a link to a website. I mentally noted the website address and checked it out. Thoughtfully, the website provides maps so that you can focus on certain areas to try find these benches (as I have discovered today, at least one or potentially two benches are not on these maps, so to get a complete list you need to look at the list of benches provided by the website). The maps are the Greenwich Trail Map, the Bloomsbury Trail Map, the City Trail Map and the Riverside Trail Map. I have no sense of direction, so the maps are quite useful although the 'BookBenches' as they are known on the site are not always easy to locate if you rely on the maps. Certain benches are not on named roads or locations, so you have to rely on intuition and just plain guess work to find them. As you may have gathered, I have decided to find all of the benches and also to photograph them.
The 'BookBenches' are part of a collaborative project between the National Literacy Trust and Wild In Art to encourage reading and also to suggest London's many literary connections. For example, the so-called Bloomsbury Group used to live, study and work around the Bloomsbury area. The Books about Town project will culminate with an auction of the 'BookBenches' on 7th October 2014 at the Southbank Centre and the money will be donated to the National Literacy Trust to encourage reading amongst disadvantaged children and young people around the UK. The 'BookBenches' (hereafter known simply as benches in the blog entries on my bench hunt) have been in their respective locations since the 2nd July 2014 and will be there until 15th September 2014. They have a uniform look, so if you are looking for them, their shape remains the same even though the art work that adorns them varies greatly, which makes the process of finding them more enjoyable. Also the art work continues on the backs of the benches and on the sides. As a quick aside, one of the pleasant aspects of finding the benches is to discover areas of London, you may not have seen or spent any time in.
I started my bench hunt on the 6th July 2014 as I had some time spare between visiting an art exhibition and going to see a film in the evening. I armed myself with the City Trail Map and the Riverside Trail Map. I was aware and continue to remain so that the geographical spread of the benches make it highly unlikely that you could find them all in one day unless your sense of direction is miraculous or you have someone with you who can smell the trails of the benches as a hunter may sniff the ground for traces of an animal's scent. I lack both of these skills unfortunately. Also it is more fun to focus on the areas. I will let you know up front that I still haven't found them all as I haven't touched the Bloomsbury Trail Map and some of them I simply can't find (yet). But I have found and photographed thirty one of them, so here are the ones I found on the 6th July 2014... There is no particular order and the numbers I have allocated the benches is based simply on the order I photographed them.
Shakespeare's London (Bench Number 1) (Located near to the Globe Theatre, London)
|Front of bench. A pictorial depiction of the buildings that had some significance to the Bard.|