Following the death of my sister on 15th November 2008 – see Doris Clarke, A Life in Publications – I had a commemorative bench installed on a grassy area near the village pond (like the one above), this along with two other people whose relatives had recently died. Greta, my half-sister, had died one month earlier on 15th October – see Richard Sidney Clarke in Publications.
Benches are very important, thankfully a fact recognised more by local authorities today than 40 years ago. They can be very simply planks supported at either end or, at the other end of the scale, very ornate and expensive – but basically they just need to do their job. For example the many commemorative benches ranged along the rising cliff-top at Sewerby Hall, Bridlington are a delight as are the ones above Thornwick Bay, Flamborough. They provide a service that one can take for granted until you arrive at a place without them. Some of the public benches installed by Hull City Council in the newly pedestrianized areas of the town centre are extremely elegant and particularly good because they are high-backed and you can rest your head – they must have been very expensive. Recently Barton Town Council has paid to have erected at six point along the Humber bank metal slat benches, thoughtfully located and securely installed. Very good.
Presumably metal benches reduce the likelihood of vandalism – although I think this might be on the decrease generally in society, or am I wrong? Like discarding litter in public places vandalism of public facilities is often considered to be an ‘English disease’, let’s hope it’s not a feature of the national psyche promoted by Brexit.
When walking through Baysgarth Park, Barton with my dog I often see teenagers congregating at certain ones of the picnic benches, I’m not aware of ant vandalism and I think they appreciate the public facility – bench and park.
Given fine weather I like little more than sitting on a public bench and watching the world go by – am I getting old? Of course I am, so what!