London is Invaded by Beautiful Benches Dressed as Books

Mary Poppins by P.L. Travers (All Pics: Books About Town)

Mary Poppins by P.L. Travers (All Pics: Books About Town)

London is the setting for an overwhelming amount of the stories in classic British fiction, but until now this hasn’t had an overwhelming effect on the landscape of the city.

However, yesterday, as part of Books About Town, a literacy campaign by the National Literacy Trust and Wild In Art, fifty benches were unveiled across the capital, all decororated to represent a major landmark in literary history. These ranged from the profound, like Charles Darwin’s Origin of Species, to the delightfully youthful We’re Going On A Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen.

'The Origin of Species' by Charles Darwin

‘The Origin of Species’ by Charles Darwin

And of course, the organisers couldn’t leave this fellow out, what with an imminent film and everything:

'A Bear Called Paddington' by Michael Bond

‘A Bear Called Paddington’ by Michael Bond

Other benches have appearances from James Bond, Bridget Jones, Sherlock HolmesAlice in Wonderland, Mary Poppins, Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot and Virginia Woolf’s Mrs Dalloway. You can see more of them at the Books About Town website.

'The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes' by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

‘The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes’ by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Books About Town deposited the benches in various prominent London locations, including Bloomsbury, Riverside, the City and over the river in Greenwich.

'War Horse' by Michael Morpurgo

‘War Horse’ by Michael Morpurgo

These will remain in position for two months, and then will be auctioned off on October 7, to raise funds for the National Literacy Trust.

Cressida Cowell, author and illustrator of How To Train Your Dragon, told Radio Times: “I am so excited to have designed a How to Train Your Dragon BookBench and to be part of the National Literacy Trust’s Books about Town campaign to celebrate the wealth of writing and illustrating talent in this country. I am hoping that Books about Town will remind Londoners on the streets of the joy of reading books.”

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis

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Fraser McAlpine

Fraser has been writing and broadcasting about music and popular culture for over 15 years, first at the Top of the Pops website, and most recently for the NME, Guardian and MSN. He also wrote BBC Radio 1's Chart Blog and reviews albums for BBC Radio 2.

He is Anglophenia's current resident Brit, blogging about British slang and running around the Mall taking snaps of the crowd at the Royal Wedding, as well as reigniting a childhood passion for classic Doctor Who and cramming as much music in as he can manage.

Fraser invites you to join him on Twitter: @csi_popmusic

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