London’s iconic BookBenches leave the streets in search of a good home

London’s iconic BookBenches leave the streets in search of a good home

Over the summer, thousands of visitors enjoyed sitting on and absorbing the stunning artwork of the 50 BookBench sculptures dotted around London. As the Books about Town exhibition chapter closes, a new one opens.

There is now the opportunity to bid for your very own piece of literary history when the benches are auctioned on 7 October on behalf of the National Literacy Trust.

After 10 weeks on the streets of London, BookBenches filled with literary characters from Paddington Bear and The Gruffalo to Sherlock Holmes and Mrs Dalloway are now being prepared for auction.

But there is one final BookBench still to see: Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere, voted by the Guardian readers as their choice for Books about Town’s final bench. Designed by illustrator Chris Riddell, this beautiful BookBench has just been installed at the Guardian headquarters at King’s Place and will be there until 3 October.

All the BookBench sculptures can be viewed on line at and it is worth going to the web site to admire the extraordinary works of art if you have not seen them in situ around London.

The auction will take place on Tuesday 7 October 2014 at London’s Southbank Centre when bidders from around the world will have the opportunity to buy the iconic BookBench sculptures, designed by some of the biggest names in art, literature and illustration.

Bidders who cannot make it in person can bid simultaneously online. The auction will raise funds for the National Literacy Trust to tackle low literacy in disadvantaged communities.

Leading up to the auction from 30 September and afterwards until 13 October, many of the popular BookBenches including: Dr. Seuss, Always try to be a little kinder…,From the Gruffalo to Scarecrows, The Jungle Book, Jeeves and Wooster Stories, Rest Your Stalks and War Horse will be displayed at the London Literature Festival in the Poetry Library and the Royal Festival Hall.

Books about Town, launched by the National Literacy Trust and Wild in Art in July 2014 has brought 51unique BookBench sculptures to the city, created by local artists and famous names to celebrate London’s literary heritage and reading for enjoyment.

The benches include James Bond, War Horse, 1984, Through the Looking Glass with artwork from Ralph Steadman and an Axel Scheffler bench featuring The Gruffalo and other favourite characters.

The National Literacy Trust is a charity dedicated to raising literacy levels in the UK. Their research and analysis makes them the leading authority on literacy and informs their work. They work with schools, run literacy projects in disadvantaged communities and campaign to make literacy a priority for politicians and parents.