Books about Town

Summer of 2014 saw trails of unique BookBench sculptures celebrating London’s literary

heritage, delight residents and visitors alike at locations across the capital.


Designed and created by Wild in Art’s Creative Director Chris Wilkinson, the BookBench has proved to be the perfect canvas through which to unite visual art and reading for enjoyment.

The BookBenches featured stories linked to London and were based on iconic books from treasured children’s stories such as The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, The Jungle Book, A Bear Called Paddington and Peter Pan to classic adult titles including 1984 and The Day of the Triffids. The BookBenches also celebrated well-loved literary heroes such as Sherlock Holmes, Mary Poppins and Hercule Poirot.
Please Look After This Bear. Thank You.

A whole host of prestigious artists and authors took part including:

  • Artist Ralph Steadman, who recreated his prize-winning illustrations on the Through the Looking Glass BookBench (Steadman won the Francis Williams Book Illustration Prize for Alice in Wonderland in 1972).
  • Axel Scheffler, an ambassador the National Literacy Trust, who painted a BookBench celebrating his work with Julia Donaldson, featuring nine of their characters in a never-seen-before combination!
  • Rae Smith, the Tony and Olivier award-winning stage designer of the National Theatre’s production of War Horse, whose original illustration features on a bespoke War Horse BookBench.

From the Gruffalo to Scarecrows: The World of Axel cheffler and Julia Donaldson

Mary Poppins

The Books about Town auction was held on Tuesday 7 October 2014 at South Bank Centre. The BookBenches raised a total of £251,500 on the night. The funds will go towards the National Literacy Trust’s work to raise literacy levels in disadvantaged communities in the UK.

Great Expectations The Librarian

About the National Literacy Trust

One person in six in the UK is held back by poor literacy skills which compromise employability, health, confidence and happiness. Poor literacy holds people back at every stage of their life: as a child they struggle to succeed at school, as a young adult they are locked out of the job market and on becoming a parent they are unable to support their child’s learning. With your support the National Literacy Trust can improve the literacy skills of even more children and adults, giving them the help they need to fulfil their potential.

Find out more about the National Literacy Trust at

Photography credit: Chris O’Donovan

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