Greenwich’s Books About Town Benches

I stumbled across one of the benches a couple of days ago when running through Greenwich Park, despite having passed several others over the summer I had contrived to miss them. They are dotted around Greenwich and the Park and are a good mixture of adult and children’s fiction and many have links to South East London.

Books about Town is being promoted by the National Literacy Trust with Wild in Art. There are four trails of benches around London, all are shaped as open books, decorated by professional illustrators and local artists. After the trails close in mid September, all the benches will be auctioned to raise funds for the National Literacy Trust’s work to raise literacy levels in the UK.

Being Greenwich there are some fantastic backdrops (and in many cases backs) to the benches …..

Clockwise from the top left
– Michael Rosen’s “We’re Going on a Bear Hunt”
– Rudyard Kipling “The Jungle Book”
– Charles Darwin’s “Origin of the Species”
– Captain Scott’s Autobiography
– David McKee’s “Elmer the Elephant”
– H G Wells’ “The Time Machine”

Clockwise from the top left
– Sue Townsend’s “The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole : Girl Engrossed”
– Dr Samuel Johnson’s Dictionary
– Samuel Pepy’s Diary
– Chaucer’s “Canterbury Tales”
– E Nesbit’s “The Railway Children”
– Douglas Adam’s “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”

As for the local links, they include – E Nesbit lived in various homes in Lewisham before moving to Eltham (there will be a blog post here on her later in the year); H G Wells was born in Bromley and was a regular visitor to Nesbit’s home at what is now Well Hall Pleasaunce; Darwin lived in Downe for many years; Pepys lived in Deptford; Michael Rosen is Professor of Children’s Literature at Goldsmiths’ and, finally, Elmer the patchwork Elephant clearly inspired the cladding for Lewisham’s new Glass Mill Leisure Centre.

As for my favourite – it has to be “We’re Going on a Bear Hunt” – both because Helen Oxenbury’s simple illustration works well as a bench and in its location -next to the pond and close to large rhododendron bushes in the Flower Garden – it is possible to envisage a parent with a degree of imagination acting out the story with their children in the park; but most of all, I liked it because it brings back happy memories of reading the book to my children when they were younger.



2 thoughts on “Greenwich’s Books About Town Benches

  1. Pingback: A Long Run with the Tall Ships | Running Past

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