Tuesday, 10 June 2014

School's Out for summer benches

School's out for summer! 

People have taken off their school shoes. They're up on benches jumping for joy.

Well, not everybody. Some people like school and miss it already.


For many of us around the world, all that serious study is finally over.

No more physics! 

No more Maths!

My husband Mungo used to be a maths teacher. He says 2 + 2 = 4 is not serious study. Unless you're a cat. 


Or very young and sit on pink school benches.


Mungo says this maths bench is more like serious study.


And more serious still is this chalk-and-talk science lecture. 


You'd need to get your pencil bench out and do some careful calculations.


My other husband is His Excellency. He's a philosopher now but there was a time when he studied chemistry. 

Some of his experiments didn't go well.

Maybe he just didn't understand the periodic table bench?


After the explosion, His Excellency switched to Classics. If you're studying Classics, bench literature isn't as fusty as it used to be.

And art classes use benches to convey subtle symbolism and meaningful themes.

But whatever you study, you have to apply yourself.

Esbjorn Doing His Homework, Carl Larsson

Back in the day you had to behave yourself when you went to the Lernin' School.

You had to sit on your school bench and face forward, otherwise you would have to stand facing the wall. 

You had to keep quiet and listen to everything the teacher was saying.


Teachers commanded a lot of respect in those days. His Excellency can remember having to bow to the Headmaster as he swept past with his Latin grammar. 


No matter how uncomfortable your bench was, you had to sit still.


You were not allowed to fall asleep at your desk.


And there was no bunking off school, unless the circus was in town. 

my photo, Southampton 

This is Old Noah, who went to school in biblical times.

He went to a church school with very hard benches. 


You sat on your pew and prayed for the end of the lesson.

Before interactive white boards, before chalkboards even, 
you had to download copy a lot of stuff onto your i-pod slate in perfect handwriting.


If you made a mistake, you might have to sit on the dunce stool at the front of the class.

This is what happened when my best imaginary friend Miggy told the Home Ec teacher she was good at cooking. 

School dinners in those days were horrible concoctions of vegetables and green custard. Mungo remembers how the classroom smelled of floor polish and boiled cabbage.


It was probably Miggy who cooked the cabbage and floor polish casserole and topped it with a splash of green custard.

Times have changed though. Kids are much wore worldly.

World Tour 1865, Andre Henri Dargelas

Classrooms are more informal. 

Although there is a bit of time still spent at desks, there is a lot more freedom in the classroom. 


These kids at Fribble Primary School have fun at school and sit on brightly coloured seats.

April, age six, shows me how she pimped her school desk in Year Two.


May and June, her parallel selves, also have colourful desks and benches.


Some schools even have bright and comfy sofas.

High school benches are a lot more fun too. 


Lord Brassica, Fifth Earl of Drizzly: I say, this is a jolly good looking school uniform. Girls didn't look like that in my day.

I should explain that Lord Brassica went to a famous boarding school.

Lord Brassica:  It was a bit of a palaver getting all my kit up to school on the train. 

Golly, Lord B, you certainly took a lot of stuff to school with you. A lot of books I guess?

Lord B: No. It's my Harrods hampers, my hunting gear, my crystal glassware, and my very small butler. 

At Lord B's school they would not put up with any nonsense. If you didn't stick to the rules you'd find yourself on a bench at Disobedience School.


Some schools are very strict about school uniforms. This school is quite lax though; it allows some variation of orange. 

I went to school at St. Asphyxia's. They were fussy. We weren't even allowed to bring swords to school.

Although I remember the uniform, it's funny how I've forgotten my school friends. I can't even remember their faces.

Whatever the uniform though, there was always somebody who would break the rules.

Miggy went to school in Scotland where it was obligatory to wear tartan.

Lord Brassica: What ho, Migs! Seeing this makes me feel like dancing the Gay Gordons! 

I must warn you that Miggy no longer looks like this. 

Indeed it would take a lot of wizardry to get her into a skirt like this now. 

Rawlings Benchleigh-Press is our personal trainer here in Fribble-under-Par. At Rawl's prep school they wore white all the time because they had to do a lot of sport.

Worn out by too much physical education, Rawl switched to law and then found he had to memorise the law reports from all the King's Benches.


When it came to the oral exam at the Old Bailey, Rawl couldn't believe he had forgotten one of the statutes from 1906. 


Yes, exams were tough in those days. In England students had to memorise the English kings and queens. In order. From King Charles . . . 


To King Burger.


Unwin is Lord Brassica's butler. He went to grammar school and studied history, but after a while, memorising the terrible events of the past began to feel like a ball and chain.

photo from Cass Sculpture Park, Sussex

Unwin still keeps up to date with current events though. And he makes sure to iron his newspaper every morning so the news is fresh.

Unwin, near St. Asphyxia's

Like Unwin, Miggy's mum went to school in war time. She remembers bomb warning sirens screaming while they sat on their benches in the makeshift classroom. 


Then she went to nursing school, where they sat at their benches cutting stuff up. 


Lord Brassica's daughter-in-law Innocent also went to nursing school. Here she is in her demure training uniform at St. Smiley's.

Innocent at St. Smiley's Hospital

And here she is now, still wearing white but not so demure.

Innocent looks back fondly at her school daze.


It's a pity she didn't learn to spell while she was there. 

But of course not all of us are nokked out by skool in a good way.


What is it with spelling? Doesn't anyone know how to spell anymore?

Well, at least the good wishes are there. Mrs. Zacco must be very pleased to receive a letter like this.


Of course reading, 'riting and 'rithmetic are the 3 Rs of education. In many countries people feel very, very lucky if they are able to go to school.

Some of them walk miles to school and then sit on very uncomfortable benches copying from a chalkboard.


Some of them sit on benches in the water.

And some even have to bring their own bench.

Around the world, everyone wants to know the magic of letters.


Once they start reading, some people can't be persuaded to put down their book.

photo by Pat McDonald

Here at Drizzly Manor, Lady Brassica is having a literacy enriching summer.

Despite, lockdown and the restrictions of social distancing, she has ordered a Young Male Reader from young male readers dot com. Every evening, as last summer, a young male reader will arrive on the ferry at Paradise Island and spend the evening reading to Lady B at Drizzly Manor. 

You wouldn't believe the books they get through.

But learning is not all fun and games. You have to work hard if you want to get to a good university.


Here are my two husbands in the crafts workshop at primary school. They started learning how to make benches in their kindergarten class.  

And here they are some years later, studiously preparing for their exams. 


His Excellency studied philosophy, asking key questions about the nature of life and the universe. 

Here are some questions from his exam paper:

  1. Have you ever imagined a world without hypothetical situations?
  2. Why is there only one monopolies commission?
  3. Is it bad luck to be superstitious?
  4. What if the hokey cokey really is what it's all about?

They had a long, long wait for their results.

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bundesarchive, Berlin.jpg

Lord Brassica's son Root went to a very posh private school but as for university, he was three A Levels short of a conditional offer. 

Maybe he should have left an apple for the teacher?


But times have changed. 

For a start, you can use your app at the bus stop.


Once you get to school, you can lark about with your mates and text each other.

Students no longer have to sit at their desks and hear some teacher rabbiting on and on.


Teachers have to work hard to keep students' attention. To get the attention of people learning to drive, some traffic schools go to extremes.


Lord Brassica: Tally ho! I've completely forgotten how to drive. Must enroll in that traffic school. 

Then too, there's lots of help online these days; many websites will give you a hand with your studies.


You can write on your slate download whole essays detailed notes which are designed to help you cheat prepare for exams.

With help like this, even Shakespeare is child's play.


Yes, school life has lost its formality. Very shortly, students in England will not have to call their teachers Sir and Miss anymore. 

Lord Brassica: By jove, I don't approve of this. 

Neither do some of the teachers.

Lord Brassica: Holy Hogwarts! What class is this woman teaching? I'd like to enroll straightaway.

My two husbands are also feeling a sudden need for Further Education.

Sorry, boys, you're too late. There's no more sitting on the old school bench this term.

School's out for summer! So . . . 

no more pencils

no more books


No more teachers' dirty looks.

We've got no class.

And we've got no principles. 


School really is out for summer.

And for some of us, school's out for ever.


Meg is also known as ~nut*Meg~ on Flickr. On one particular Bench Monday, June 7, 2010, Meg photographed some people in bare feet jumping joyously on a bench. And we know why: school's out!  

A depressed man sitting on a bench is a self-made illustration by Ysangkok. It's from 2007 and is released into the public domain at https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Depressed.svg  Depression is a little bit of a theme here on Benchsite. For example, see what a Blue Monday we had when we had to look at a lot of dismal benches. 

I love cats and I love art so Ryan Conners' Kilkenny Cat Art is one of my favourite sites on etsy. It's full of delightful paintings of cat folk art featuring cats in all sorts of disguises and situations. The Back to School cats are painted with golden acrylics. There are also some nuns with cats which look rather like my teachers at St. Asphyxia's. www.etsy.com/shop/KilkennyCatArt  
And speaking of cats, here's a link to some cracking cat benches.

Amanda Richards is a hobby photographer, currently living in Guyana. She photographed the nursery class on their pink benches in Georgetown, Demerara-Mahaica Guyana in 2011. https://www.flickr.com/photos/arichards-gallery/5755442316 

John Ayo, from New Orleans, took the photo of the mathematical graffiti on a park bench in Alum Spring Park in Fredericksburg, Virginia, where he now lives. He says even the vandals are more sophisticated here. https://www.flickr.com/photos/8422710@N06/3061548006  

The very large chalkboard and the very small lecturer at the front of the lecture hall is a desktop wallpaper download by http://www.wall321.com. wall321 is one of the largest desktop wallpaper sharing sites, offering unlimited free downloads of HD wallpaper and 3D wallpapers. If you like this one, you can find it at http://www.wall321.com/Technology/Science/science_serious_men_teacher_blackboards_college_mathematics_lecture_lecture_hall_a_serious_man_micha_40521

The pink pencil bench, which also comes in yellow, appeared on www.designbuzz.com as one of their Top 10 Unusual Benches. It won a Cornwall Design award in 2007. And it also appears on Benchsite World Book Day in 2013. The designer is Boex 3D Creative Solutions at www.boex.co.uk  Many thanks to Sam Boex for permission to use this image.

My husband His Excellency has a long history of destroying benches (and indeed schools) with his ill-fated chemistry experiments. This photo of a destroyed classroom is by Thomas Hawk in 2011. Thomas is from San Francisco and when he's not taking or processing pictures he's mostly thinking about the pictures. His aim is to publish a library of 1,000,000 hand crafted, lovingly created, individually finished and processed photographs before he dies. Good luck with that, Thomas! 

In 2003, two students, Nazila Alimohammadi and Anna Clark, built a picnic table in the shape of the periodic table of elements. It was created as a sculpture for a public art course and is accurate in every detail, right down to the auxiliary lanthanides and actinides tables that constitute the table's bench. The table is located, er, right by the Chemistry building at Wake Forest University in North Carolina. It was photographed in 2007 by Larry, who lives in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.  https://www.flickr.com/photos/larrywfu/2027115602 From December 30, 2015 there are four new elements added to the seventh row of the periodic table. They are temporarily named as ununtrium, (Uut or element 113), ununpentium (Uup, element 115), ununseptium (Uus, element 117), and ununoctium (Uuo, element 118). Just so you know. 

Carl Olof Larsson ( 1853 –1919) was a Swedish painter representative of the Arts and Crafts movement. His many paintings include oils, watercolors, and frescoes. He is principally known for his watercolors of idyllic family life but there are also some serious and beautiful landscapes of his homeland.

The Lernin' School is along the boardwalk in the Wild West town of Dayville, Oregon (population 149). There's nothing much behind it but that doesn't matter as there are plenty of benches out front. Have a look at some wild, Wild West Benches at http://benchsite.blogspot.co.uk/2016/04/wildest-west-benches-of-usa.html

Heather Gill from Arizona does fine art photography for her etsy shop at https://www.etsy.com/shop/HeatherGillPhoto  The vintage school house was in the most perfect condition in a ghost town in Montana. Heather could almost hear the teacher writing on the black board with chalk.

The newborn baby asleep at the desk is from Sweet Pea Palace at www.etsy.com/shop/sweetpeapalace  They do a wide range of digital backdrops, including this school desk prop for photographers. You can find a backdrop for just about any situation you can imagine.

Imagine sitting in school all day on a hard church pew. Many Congolese students do not have a school desk so they sit on church pews borrowed from the nearby church. The photographer is Woody Collins (2009).  He wonders if the students are assigned their bench positions at the beginning of the school year and whether they recognize their pew from church.   https://www.flickr.com/photos/woodycollins/4252670300

The Victorian teacher at his desk is a photo from Marianne at Clancy's Classics in Oregon  www.etsy.com/shop/maclancy  Marianne loves history and the photographic history of the USA. She has a huge vintage photo collecton so she can offer the images printed out for you.   

The headmaster sweeping through with his robes and Latin book is The Great Panjandrum Himself, an illustrated book written by Randolph Caldecott. I regret that I cannot find a date for it but the book itself is full of delightful illustrations like this one and is available through the Gutenberg Press at
http://www.gutenberg.org/files/28557/28557-h/28557-h.htm  This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.org. The terms are that I publish this statement, so that's what I'm doing. 

The slate is from the photo Schulbank by Bernd Hutschenreuther at   http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Schulbank.jpg

The classroom with a dunce chair in the corner is the historic Strawberry Schoolhouse, the oldest standing schoolhouse in Arizona, dating back to 1884. It was photographed by Alan English and it's special to him because his grandmother was a school marm in territorial Arizona and into statehood. Alan provides a detailed history of the school and further photographs at https://www.flickr.com/photos/alanenglish/5066943664www.pinestrawhs.org/schoolhouse.html

Miggy wore this dunce hat whilst visiting The Ragged School in East London. The Ragged Schools were charitable organisations which provided free education, clothing, food and lodging for poor children in 19th-century Britain. They were taught reading, writing, arithmetic and Bible study. Around 300,000 children attended ragged schools in London. 

The one room schoolhouse is in White Pine Village Marchido School. It was photographed in 2005  in Ludington, Michigan.  http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:WPV_One_room_schoolhouse.jpg

Holli has hundreds of vinyl wall adornments which you can use to brighten up your space. The blue school teacher and students decal shows different kinds of classroom behaviour which many of us will recognise  www.etsy.com/shop/vinylwalladornments 

Andre Henri Dargelas (1828-1906) was a French genre painter who was much loved for his playful depictions of children. World Tour (1865), the painting of kids running amok in the classroom and swinging on the world globe, is a delightful example. 

DiCeY lives in beautiful downtown West Dundee in Illinois. Her shop is Honey Poo Poo's, where she up-cycles vintage treasures to infuse new life, vibrancy and purpose. Honey Poo Poo's sells whimsical and funky, colorful and unique items - everything from hand painted rocking horses and school desks to Fabulous Boot Bling and more.  www.etsy.com/shop/honeypoopoos  April's pink Princess school desk is sprinkled with fairy dust and feathers. Golly, school desks were never like this at St. Asphyxia's.

William at High School Monster Mini Customs does accessories and furniture for 12 inch dolls. It just so happens that I have a couple of innocent 12 inch dolls around (without naming any names). You can buy the furniture assembled, unassembled, finished, or unfinished.  The high school monster couch is a spider web which you can paint any colour you like. www.etsy.com/shop/MonsterMiniCustoms

You may have recognised the luggage waiting to be loaded onto the Hogwarts Express. The destination, of course, is Hogwarts School (not Lord Brassica's school - that was Eton). The train platform at King's Cross station is 9 and 3/4. The photograph was taken by Scott Smith in 2011 at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Islands of Adventure, in Orlando, Florida.  - https://www.flickr.com/photos/scottrsmith/9616529429

These kitties certainly look disobedient. In Lord Brassica's day, as he is fond of saying, they would get a clip round the ear. But not so here, where they sit happily on a bench being disobedient. Kitty Disobedience School is just one of many artworks by Diane in Orlando, Florida. She makes all kinds of art - especially cats, dogs and abstracts - at DM Parnell Arts. www.etsy.com/shop/DMParnellArt  

This year Dietmar Temps visited some novice monks at a monastery called Vat Sisavangvong in Muang Pak Lay (Paklei) in Laos. It happened to be examination week in the Buddhist school in the monastery. Accompanying his photos, Dietmar tells a very funny story about what happened next 

You may have realised that I'm not using my own school pictures here. The girl with sword is one of the many, many photographs of pretty girls in school uniforms which are all over the internet (just Google school and uniform and you'll see what I mean. There's a whole world of short skirts and school ties, and ankle socks out there. This photo is by Kheng Siong at https://www.flickr.com/photos/kamera-otoko/5948672634

The anonymous students in school uniform were photographed at Nanjing educational museum at Nanjing Number 1 Middle School in 2009. The photographer is Graeme Eyre - https://www.flickr.com/photos/gceyre/3741035352

Danny Choo is from London but now lives in Tokyo. He has photographed a lot of Japanese school uniforms, which seem to be quite a thing in Japan. https://www.flickr.com/photos/dannychoo/4409088406  He also has a portal to Japan at  www.dannychoo.com/jp  If you're interested in Japanese benches, we have them here on Benchsite.

If only Miggy looked this good in a tartan! I actually wonder if anybody looks this good in a tartan? This is Monso's School Look but hey, this isn't real life - it's Secondlife. It comes from Whitfield-in-World at  https://www.flickr.com/photos/snumaw/8574045880   Just which world, I'm not sure. For more tartans, see last summer's Benchsite Scottish wedding

The look alike Harry Potter and friends were photographed in their Hogwarts school uniforms by rmkoske in 2007. 

Rawlings Benchleigh-Press is new to Fribble-under-Par but he's already making a big impact. As an ex-lawyer, he is particularly knowledgable about legal benches.  He also funded the witty Trainers benches in Fribble park, which appeared only recently and will take some time to break in. Why not let Rawl Benchleigh-Press guide you through some amazing legal benches . 

The set of King's Bench Division books was photographed by Greg Smith at https://www.flickr.com/photos/pragmatic/2349042840   Greg lives in Waterloo, Canada and describes himself as a pragmatic radical. He pragmatically photographs Scrabble boards and Toronto, poster and signs, and shops that don't suck. 

Gwen in Mantua, Ohio is soooooo vintage. No, make that sewwwwwww vintage. She has vintage photographs well organised in categories so that you can select anything you want in colour or black and white. I chose the four 1960s students for Rawl's exam and there are many, many other photos I could have chosen. It's hard to stop looking.   www.etsy.com/shop/gwensewvintage  

Tinka is the King charles spaniel sitting on a blue bench.  She was photographed by any.user in Westerstede in Germany.      https://www.flickr.com/photos/anyuser/959413361

Clemens V. Volgelsang is a communications designer and creative director from Liechtenstein. He photographed the bright red Burger King benches in Zurich.  https://www.flickr.com/people/vauvau/ 

Sitting on History is by Bill Woodrow, 1995 at www.billwoodrow.com  I photographed this bench at Cass Sculpture Park in 2009. 

Lord Brassica is the Fifth Earl of Drizzly and Unwin is Lord Brassica's long-suffering butler. Unwin and his nicely pressed newspaper appeared on Benchsite's springy yellow benches. Amongst Unwin's most unsavoury tasks is standing away from Lord Brassica's picnic with raspberry jam on his head. Why does he do this? Read all about it on Lord Brassica's guide to picnic benches. For more about who's who and what's what on Paradise Island see http://benchsite.blogspot.co.uk/2013/03/whos-who-in-fribble-under-par.html

In the post-war reconstruction of the Netherlands after the Second World War schoolchildren were taught in a temporary, badly lit classroom, a so called "tinhouse". In the summer it was a hothouse, in winter it was freezingly cold. The photo was taken somewhere in The Netherlands on 14 September 1946. It's from the Netherlands National Archive at https://www.flickr.com/photos/nationaalarchief/3895373807

Schoolgirl into Nurse medical training in Britain 1942 is a photographed from the Ministry of Information's World War collection at the Imperial War Museum on the IWM Non commerical Licence. The image (Imperial War Museum number D8602) is considered Crown Copyright, now expired as the photograph was taken prior to 1 June 1957. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Schoolgirl_Into_Nurse-_Medical_Training_in_Britain,_1942_D8602.jpg  For some Feelgood Medical Benches, including doctors and nurses,  see http://benchsite.blogspot.co.uk/2013/04/feelgood-medical-benches-for-world.html

Innocent is the daughter-in-law of Lord and Lady Brassica, married to their hapless son Root, who is known for getting drunk and sleeping on benches. Since her wedding last summer, Innocent has emerged from her convent nursing dress into something of a fashion icon, usurping her more famous mother-in-law and causing uproar on the fashion forums. As for nursing, read more about the uniform she designed for International Nurses Day at

Lady Jessica Brassica is well known for her glamorous style, her sauna, her skimpy outfits, and her replica mall in the basement of Drizzly Manor. Most of all, she's known for her shopping expeditions and for her Young Male Readers. But what has Lady B learned from all this reading? Her latest venture is Studio Ballyfrumpy in County Offhand in Ireland. Do we have Irish benches here on Benchsite? Sure and begorra we do.

S. Bowen from Connecticut says that at Stean Finds, vintage is their vantage. What does Stean find? Clocks, plates, candle holders, cups, and music boxes like the School Daze desk one.  www.etsy.com/shop/SteanFinds  

Susan and Gordon are in Ashland, Nebraska where their shop is the wonderfully named Oxbow Creek Exchange. They sell antiques, vintage items, collectibles and curiosities. Glass, furniture, pottery, kitchenalia, tools, toys, jewelry - they've got it all. I recognise the Playskool Nok Out bench from the 1950s/60s. Makes you wonder if this was when we started to ignore bad spelling.   www.etsy.com/shop/OxbowCreekExchange

OK, the letter from Annabelle to her teacher does not have very good spelling. But who could doubt her sincerity? Annabelle looks to be very young and her experience of school with Mrs. Zacco seems to have been a very happy one. Let's hope that Annabelle continues to be joyous and grateful for everything her teachers techt her. The photograph of the letter is by Steve Winton, taken in 2011.  - https://www.flickr.com/photos/winton/5964386043

The cartoon teacher is probably not actually Annabelle's teacher Mrs Zacco, and may be nothing at all like Mrs. Zacco. Lucky Jackson from Peterborough in Ontario likes fun, happy art. He has 365 Lucky Day prints featuring lots of people you will recognise and some you don't. He calls this print Hot for Teacher.  www.etsy.com/shop/luckyjackson  

If you're a young school student in the industrialised world, you probably take your education for granted. In many countries, however, people are very keen to get educated and would love to have your opportunities. This adult literacy class is for Chad/Darfur refugees at Gaga refugees' camp in Eastern Chad.  The camp is located 71 km from the Sudanese border, and was opened in 2005. The class is mixed, although men and women do not sit on the same bench. The photo is from F. Noy at the United Nation's European Commission Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection in December 2011.  https://www.flickr.com/photos/69583224@N05/8022577966  

The child alone in the classroom is in Kibera in Nairobi, Kenya. https://www.flickr.com/photos/gtzecosan/10444484183 The photograph comes from the collection of GIZ in Germany, who is responsible for the secretariat of the Sustainable Sanitation Alliance (SuSanA). This photograph is about peepoo bags, which are used in areas where toilets have not been constructed. Peepoo bags are one of the few ways to provide safe sanitation where there is no water, as in Kibera. Another method is urine diversion dehydration toilets (UDDTs) which were photographed by staff members and other contributors to the group and are shown on the Benchsite Short History of Toilet Benches. A photostream showing GIZ's good work is at http://www.flickr.com/photos/gtzecosan/   

The boy sitting on a bench in the water is Pidahouse, who was a young student in Grade Six when he was photographed by Shawn Ahmed in Bangladesh. https://www.flickr.com/photos/uncultured/4790032704  Pidahouse explained that, although he survived Cyclone Sidr, his school was destroyed. Teachers used the few remaining benches and taught outside in classrooms with no ceiling.The photographer, Shawn, is a Canadian from Toronto.While  on scholarship at the University of Notre Dame he was inspired by a speech made by Dr. Jeffrey Sachs (author of “The End of Poverty”). That speech inspired him to withdraw from grad school, liquidate his savings, and go to Bangladesh to start what he calls The Uncultured Project. It's not a charity, NGO or anything formal. Shawn feels that the best way to connect to people on the issue of poverty is to make it personal. Shawn's Facebook is uncultured.net and his blog is uncultured.com

The boys moving benches were in Sudan in April 2012 when ten new classrooms opened  at Abu Shouk camp.  Abu Shouk is a camp for Internal Displaced People (IDP), North Darfur. The new classrooms were sponsored by UNAMID, the United Nations - African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID). With 26,000 personnel, UNAMID is the largest peacekeeping mission in existence worldwide. The photo of the boys and the benches is by Albert Gonzalez Farran from UNAMID https://www.flickr.com/photos/unamid-photo/7090446779

The magic of letters was photographed in Livingstonia in Malawi around 1895. It is part of the collection of the International Mission Photography Archive (1860-1960) and it is in the public domain in Europe and the USA because it was registered with the US copyright office before January 1923.  http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:%22Magic_of_Letters,_Livingstonia%22_Malawi,_ca.1895_(imp-cswc-GB-237-CSWC47-LS3-1-038).jpg

The photo with Mark Twain reading a book was taken at Walter's Ferry on the Snake River in Idaho many years ago. Pat McDonald from Boise photographed his cousin Gerhard from Germany, who appears to be trying to persuade Twain to put down his book. If it's Huckleberry Finn, no wonder he wants to keep reading. Cleo's Ferry Museum is a sculpture park in Melba, Idaho, and from all accounts, it's a gem of a place. http://www.yelp.com/biz/cleos-ferry-museum-melba Many thanks to Pat for making me aware of it. 

Tim Lauer is principal of Lewis Elementary School in Portland, Oregon. He took this picture of a school literacy enrichment message in 2010. https://www.flickr.com/photos/timlauer/4711623321

The Oxford bench was photographed by Stephanie Byron, who is from Iowa. I don't know if she was actually in Oxford at the time, or maybe even another place called Oxford, other than the well-known university one. Her shop is Red Hedge Photos, which sells simple, beautiful, and unique  products  inspired by nature. There are floral prints, animals, textures, objects, letters and all kinds of prints to add a dash of cheerful inspiration to everyday life.  www.etsy.com/shop/RedHedgePhotos  

The two little boys were in the craft room at Daven, photographed by Philip Howard at - https://www.flickr.com/photos/22326055@N06/3576434535  This is one of those photostreams full of fascinating photos that tell a life story. Starting in London in 1957, it's a story of a life in care.  http://www.theirhistory.co.uk/

Becki Harvey Myers from Alaska Vintage has been with Benchsite since the beginning, supplying wonderful vintage photographs, such as the one of my two husbands studying many years ago. Aren't they handsome? As Becki says, every picture tells a story and her pictures certainly do. I find them a delightful source of inspiration. www.etsy.com/shop/AlaskaVintage  

The skeletons waiting for their exam results are from the Bundes archive Bild in Berlin's Arbeitsschitz Museum in 1931. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bundesarchiv_Bild_102-11038,_Berlin,_Arbeitsschutz-Museum.jpg 

It used to be common to bring an apple for the teacher. Hash Milhan is a digital creative in London but he originally came from Sri Lanka. He took the lovely photo of the apple on a bench at Pettah in Colombo Sri Lanka.  https://www.flickr.com/photos/hashir/2089106143

The American school bus bus stop is in Athens, Georgia. It regularly appears in all kinds of lists about best bus stops and indeed appeared as one of Benchsite's brilliant Bus Stop benches. It's by sculptor Christopher Fennell who kindly gave permission for me to use it. Chris's website is at www.cfennell.com

 The wonderful Wednesday in Easter Bunny School was photographed by Markus Reinhardt, a software engineer from Forchheim in Germany.  https://www.flickr.com/photos/tuxxilla/  It uses the blurring Bokah technique in photography; apparently egg bokah is quite popular as a way of creating an abstract image. The image appeared previously on Benchsite for the Easter rabbit story

The Topless Traffic School bench in LA was photographed by Tom, who lives at Big Bear Lake in California. Makes you wonder whether a topless traffic school is really a good way to learn how to drive safely. https://www.flickr.com/photos/tomspixels/2561812485

The handprints bench is in Kelletts School in Hong Kong, photographed by David Woo. David is a research student from New Jersey, currently living in Cambridge. https://www.flickr.com/photos/mckln/5455746792

The child with Shakespeare on a bench was outside a gallery in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The photograph is by George Goodman at  https://www.flickr.com/photos/gog/29245017   George is a sometimes photographer from Portland, Oregon. He's on the far side of 50 and enjoys his wife, his sons, his dog, his friends, travel, and his work.

The incredibly glamorous teacher fancied by Lord Brassica is The Diva, who appeared at The Rouge opening party in 2008. Looks like the Rouge might be a nightclub or perhaps even some other kind of place Lord B might like to frequent. The photo is by Jessyka Richard, who has flickred her second life at https://www.flickr.com/photos/jessykarichard/2655226640

The No more sitting on the old school bench sign was photographed by Helen Keegan in 2006. An event organiser, mentor, pundit, Helen is from Worcester, currently living in London and a specialist in mobile medica, marketing and advertising. Her website is at Heroes of Mobile: Events & Initiatives for mobilists and her photostream at
The giant pencil bench is by  Ron Parks (2009). It's in Jocelyn Sculpture Park in Omaha, Nebraska and was photographed by Hanneorla for her photostream at  https://www.flickr.com/photos/hanneorla/8243041006 Hanneorla loves travelling and taking pictures around the world. She is fascinated by contemporary visual art, cutting-edge sculpture, modern architecture, and futuristic designs.

The oak book benches were made for Clarkston Primary School in North Lanarkshire in 2010. They were photographed by Justin Wilson whose website is at www.justinillusions.com 

Oh, I love this young teacher's dirty look! She makes the disapproving rabbits look . . . well, approving. Her father photographed her in these wood shop safety glasses.  - https://www.flickr.com/photos/clarkmaxwell/8523342832

The No school today? sign was photographed by Adam Howarth in 2008. He is from London but currently lives in Thailand and he's incredibly well travelled. Check out his 100 most interesting Flickr photos. https://www.flickr.com/photos/puppydogbites/2830352168 

Phossil says he's the kind of person who doesn't like talking about his likes and dislikes. His dreams for the future are none of your business. And the only thing I know about Phossil is that he currently lives in Guatemala, has lots of hobbies, and an eye for school uniforms. See www.animoe.net  and Phossil's Flickr photostream at https://www.flickr.com/photos/phossil/7767471606

The words from Alice Cooper's famous song were on the window of Eatz 'n Treatz in Melbourne in 2010. Someone called Smith Street, Collingwood happened to be there to take the photo.
 https://www.flickr.com/photos/65012256@N04/5918026171  Smith Street Collingwood has seven photo albums, four of them with photos of Stanley Street. There is no doubt a good reason for this. 

May 10, 2014 was my very last day of teaching after 25 years. I snapped these corridor benches outside my classroom on the way out. 


  1. Nice work!!!! Great collection of benches for this theme. And you really do an amazing job of giving credit and background info on the pics.

  2. Hi Scott. Glad you enjoyed the story and many thanks for your Destination Hogwarts photo. Yes, I do spend a lot of time trying to make sure that people get credit for their own work. I went to school in the days when references for work had to be correct. I expect it was like this at Hogwarts too?

    All the best,