This Guy Rates Benches All Around The UK And The Reviews Are Spot-On
“The bench was comfortable, big broad arms, the seat was a good height and had a subtle curve, a great base, a plaque and a wonderful view. It’s a a very solid 7/10.”
Everybody has a hobby. It can be anything as simple as collecting coins or stamps, partaking in certain sports, whether as a player or a spectator, or even cosplaying, but it can also be a bit more uncommon, like trainspotting, collecting pictures of doors, and rating benches.
Never heard of the last one? Well, then meet Samuel Wilmot, a 23-year-old recruiter from Bristol, England with an educational background in history studies who spends much of his time rating the various benches found around the UK on Instagram.
Samuel Beckett: “We spend our life, it’s ours, trying to bring together in the same instant a ray of sunshine and a free bench…”. I rate benches.
“The camouflage jumper seems to have been more effective than the bench. I’m left scratching my (floating) head over why something so beautiful is let down by a cheaply thrown together bench. There’s no arm rests, no back support, no plaque, no concrete base and no curvature. What’s left me really disgruntled was the height of the bench, it’s way too high for any average height person to sit comfortably. I’m on my tip toes just to alleviate the pressure on my thighs. The climb to the top of the hill was worth the view but not the bench. 3/10, purely for its location.”
“This bench was installed in Chipping Sodbury just over a week ago, and it’s an absolute delight. I have insight knowledge from its creator @andyoneill_woodcarver to explain the features and carvings on the bench. It’s carved from Giant Redwood hence it’s gorgeous colour, the Ammomites at the base depict the nearby quarrying, the waves in the seat represents the river Frome, and the birds carved into the back rest a Dipper, House Martin, Kingfisher and Wagtail, are found nearby. The bench exhibits earth, water and air. It’s an unbelievable piece of craftsmanship, the seat is deep set, the arm rests (my favourite bit) are a fantastic size for getting comfortable, the back is to a great height too and the base was suitable. It’s a shame the bin in shot blocks out another great piece of carving. Thoroughly enjoyed this one, 8/10.”
“There shall be no great essay on the bench this evening. This bench was dedicated by The Royal British Legion as part of the memorial garden in Staple Hill & Mangotsfield to commemorate the fallen. The 11th November is a time to remember the sacrifice of men and women of every race and nationality that laid down their lives for the hope of a better world. The bench is a 5/10.”
“River Street, Bristol. Unfortunately this bench was a victim of vandalism and the majority of the seat was missing. It did receive a 0/10, but I still hold it in a higher regard than some benches.”
“As we begin our next period of “lockdown” something can be said about learning from Robinson Crusoe’s time in isolation on a deserted island, such as withdrawing from worldly goods and disrupting the usual rhythms and habits of our lives to aid our own personal growth. But don’t read too much into it, the rest is the usual story of British colonialism. This mural of Robinson Crusoe in Hastings was created as a selfie portal and performance space by a local cafe. At present there is a heated debate on benches in Hastings, with the local council removing some from the town centre due to anti-social behaviour issues. It to me seems a desperate shame that the council plans to remove the benches to spite those who have nowhere else to go, instead of dealing with the deep routed issues of homelessness and substance misuse. That’s a rant for another day. The benches here are rather slipshod, they posses no real character nor do they provide much comfort – this was the best of a bad bunch having been maintained by the neighbouring cafe. The concrete exterior provided some protection from the wind and the views of the English Channel were greatly appreciated on a chilly morning. 5/10, picking up marks for the artwork, maintenance and locality.”
“The name Dyrham Park was the closest I came to seeing Deers here despite it being home to 200 Fallow Deers. The bench felt quite “traditional” in the sense of the light iron work, the narrow frame, thin timber and a it’s setting in a Baroque country house garden. I loved the colour, it’s been well kept and has a very nearly kept backdrop. As tends to be the case with benches such as this they bow when sitting (it can be seen quite clearly in the photo) and can feel quite weak when they’re perfectly sound. It’s nice bench and fits the aesthetics of the gardens, but not quite the sturdy and solid benches I hold in high regard. 5/10, for its setting and vibrant colour.”
“Stourhead ‘a living work of art’. Those words from 1750 still ring true today, the gardens and Palladian style buildings were beautiful and made for a wonderful place to walk. Dotted around the grounds were small sign posts encouraging people to “Pause, notice, reflect” as part of the 125th anniversary of the @nationaltrust. This year, unlike any other, has allowed us the time and space to pause and notice the world around us and I think we can all agree it’s pretty spectacular – especially at this time of the year. With any luck, people have noticed benches a little more too! As for this bench, it was solid, the back had a substantial protruding curve, the seat sloped gently and cushioned the buttocks well. I like the bulky design and the little holes. The bridle path was a suitable base and the fallen leaves added an extra texture and sound to the seating experience. The lack of plaque was unfortunate but not unexpected given that its privately owned land. Very little needs to be said about the view and it’s surroundings, this is a place where you could sit for hours. A solid 6/10.”
“I deem myself to be a very laid back individual, so naturally a bench that has a recline such as this is one I’ll always look fondly one. Those of you who have followed my page for a while will know that the middle support offers strength and piece of mind. It’s sturdy, durable, the arm rests are thick and the concrete base is near on perfect. The drawback of this bench is to do with the shallow seat, the lack of depth means that you are required to anchor your feet to keep yourself upright, because of the angle you sit at a more deep set seat is required for additional friction to stop one sliding. There’s a wonderful little coffee shop to be enjoyed and some terrible football to be watched here. It’s not quite the majesty of a lake or an autumnal forest but it sums up most of my Saturdays pretty well, coffee and park football. 5/10.”
“Shoutout to Leeds for providing one of the roughest looking benches I’ve sat on. This feels like an attempt of gentrification being given the middle finger by the locals. The new prefab apartments are clearly an attempt to generate interest and investment in the area but they look pretty tacky. This bench was cheaply thrown together and has now become the point of rest for youths and the occasional fiend. You can’t see it but in one of the “planters” somebody had attempted to set fire to the contents of somebody’s handbag. Stay classy. From the off, I actually like the design (albeit cheaply executed) and thought this bench had a lot going for it. The stone structure is known as a Gabion Basket frame (duly noted by @tonylysander) and was a nice addition which added to the rustic feel. As for the wood, it was smooth and firm but desperately in need of a varnish to preserve the wood. The seat itself was solid and offered minimal curvature, the back support was a thick piece of timber and was at a good height to support the curvature of the spine but it wouldn’t offer much comfort for longer periods of sitting. The dusty/loose stone base was suitable for the time of year but into winter it’ll be a pretty gross place to sit. There was no plaque and the weeds were fierce looking and growing wild. The canal path made for a pleasant walk, if not a little rough and ready. On this occasion, it’s a 3/10. The potential was minimised by its setting.”
“You could be forgiven for thinking the Bledisloe cup was a fierce rivalry between Australia and New Zealand rugby union teams; but not here in the UK. The Bledisloe Cup was a prestigious competition for the “Best Kept Village in Gloucestershire”, which began in 1937. This bench is a celebration of Frampton on Severn’s 3 consecutive victories in ‘84, ‘85 & ‘86. However, the niceties of the competition end there and have not been emulated in the upkeep of this bench. That’s not to say it’s falling apart, but it’s certainly showing signs of its age: The damp is setting into the timber, the lichen is spreading and the vegetation is starting to creep onto the concrete base. A little TLC could restore this bench to the pride of the green again. It was a comfortable place to sit, if not a little damp on a dewy morning. The Bledisloe Cup was scrapped in 2009 due to a lack of interest from Gloucestershire villages. I’d speculate the interest in maintenance of this bench probably ended before then. 6/10, lots of bark but not a lot of bite.
Edit: I’m due on Steph’s Packed Lunch on channel four on Friday (lunchtime obviously). It would be nice if those of you who can, tune in. ”
“Boats and hoes. Took a trip to Almondsbury garden centre this morning for a mooch around and came across this wee boaty. It’s good to see things being up-cycled. I’m not convinced I’d spend £514 on it though. It was quirky, and the seat had plenty of depth but there wasn’t a great deal of strength in the back – my guess is it’s more decorative than supportive. I was however fond of the view. It was like peering into my future, I’m looking forward to the day where I get to buy a shed and put it on an allotment with a radio, kettle and comfy chair. A nice idea as place to put your plant pots but as a bench it was less than shipshape. 4/10.”
“These benches, like sprouting trees in rainforests, were all vying for the same fresh air and spot of sunshine. I’ve never come across 4 benches so tightly packed in together outside of a major city; which in any year prior to 2020 was ideal, now 2 of 4 shouldn’t be occupied for social distancing reasons. I’d like to draw reference to the bench being so small, but actually the bench is perfectly average in size I’m just wider than most. There’s space for 3 people, more slender than I, to sit comfortably and revel in the views across the Jurassic Coast. Interesting fact, the 96 miles of coastline making up the Jurassic Coast was the first wholly natural world heritage site in the UK. The seat was comfortable, offering a slight curvature and plenty of support in the back and arm rests. The bench offered a lovely dedication to a Japanese woman who loved Charmouth. The concrete base was purpose built for 3 of the 4 benches hear, the 4th was clearly a late addition. But of the 3 “ogs” they were crying out for some varnish ahead of another savage winter on the coast British coast. All in all, an above satisfactory bench. 6/10.”
“As we move further into Autumn and the rain sets in be sure to carry something with you for wiping benches over before sitting, on this occasion I used a glove left in the pocket of my coat from last winter. As always, I try not to let the weather shroud my judgement of the bench, but it must be said it can put a dampener on things – literally. The bench is made from anti-vandal material, hence the plastic coating I often comment on, and I recognise needs must at times. Nonetheless, I still prefer a solid wooden seat. I do appreciate the colour of the seat mimics that of genuine wood/timber but it is just that, a mimic. For me the bench offers too many straight lines and angles, I’m a fan of curvature and something that flows with the body. Pros: a solid base along the promenade, decent height back support and a plaque. Cons: no arms, no curvature and was soaking wet. 5/10.”
“The view was almost beautiful enough to forget about the shoddy bench, almost. I recognise there are geographical issues to overcome here to allow for a bigger and better bench to be built on a hill, but it’s doable. Mind over matter. The bench was rotten, covered in lichen and lacked support of any kind. It allowed for a momentary pause to gather your composure prior to overcoming the steps to the top but functionality shouldn’t compromise quality with benches. My biggest peeve wasn’t even about this bench, it’s the absence of a bench at the top of the Golden Cap that really irked me. The place was crying out for a bench to allow for breathless and panting couples to enjoy the surrounding vistas. But no, this was the best the area could conjure. An unfortunate, 3/10.”
“As view points go in Bristol this is right up there. As inaccurate place names go, this again is right up there. The so called “Lovers’ Leap” is not the spot where star-crossed lovers leapt to their death. It was given the name by Thomas Farr, who was well versed in story telling and creating false myths to do with his estate. The bench offered no plaque but there was plenty of inscriptions and names carved into the wood. The lack of concrete base begot a very dirty jacket when it fell to the ground. For a place offering such spectacular views over the Avon Gorge, Stoke Bishop and Sneyd Park one can only assume the uncomfortable bench is to discourage people sitting for too long and hogging the view. For the view alone, this was a 3/10. Plus, benches that let my feet dangle give me a complex about my height.”
“The Downs in Bristol are hailed as the ‘lungs of Bristol’ and have been a protected piece of land for the people of the city to enjoy it as a leisure resort since 1861. The description of the Downs as the lungs of the City is a fascinating and accurate description of the area. It’s a place to breathe, enjoy and appreciate the beauty here whether running, playing Quidditch, football, dog-walking or taking a seat on one of the many benches. There was a very loving and touching memorial on the bench that read “We sit with you to heal our hurt”. A lot can be said for allowing yourself time to sit a while and heal for so many different things in life. The bench offered a great place to sit and admire the changing leaves and passers by enjoying the park. It was a nice bench, the seat was a little uneven in place and the arm rests not to my preference. But the back rest was at a suitable recline and it had been well maintained. Overall, a nice place to sit, 5/10.”