Monday, December 04, 2017

A nice sit down and a think

From 'Memorial Bench' blog
The internet can be an amazing place sometimes. The time and energy that goes into crowdsourced information is fantastic. Until recently, I had no idea that people were making maps of public benches so you can find a place to sit down and have a think when on your travels whether that's in the town or the countryside. And it's not just about the benches, it's also about who the bench is dedicated to. So many of our benches have a dedication, especially on benches where there is a particularly good view that meant something to the deceased.

There are a few online resources out there...

A Nice Sit Down is on a mission to get photographs and location of all the public benches out there. It's a bit bonkers, but each bench gets their own page and you can add a bit of blurb to your entry if you wish. There aren't that many benches on the site but you might find one local to you or you can add one that's near you.

Open Street Map (a free, editable map of the whole world that is being built by volunteers) has a list of some of the benches in the world. It's not comprehensive unfortunately. I did a check on a couple of locations I know very well, and the benches I know about weren't listed. It's also safe to say that I found Open Street Maps a bit tricky to work out how to use it. It's a long time since I've had to read a map that's not a street map so I'm rusty on the protocol and on top of that, Open Street Maps seems to be very geeky so may put off the less geeky among us.

In Memory of is a blog about memorial bench dedications and the views from those benches. The author, George, claims to have always had a morbid fascination with reading the dedications on memorial benches and after a chance conversation with a fellow fan, she started the blog. She adds photos of memorial benches and the views from them on an ad hoc basis. She also accepts submissions from others.

The newest resource on the block comes from my friends Terence and Elizabeth and it's called Open Benches. They've put this together following on from their interest in blue plaques and the wonderful Open Plaques site. Blue plaques commemorate the famous and influential figures from the past and the open plaques site document those plaques and some of the history behind the figures.

For the rest of us, there are memorial benches. Open Benches is dedicated to those benches and they're asking people to take a photo of a bench's plaque and upload it to the site and it will then automatically be added to the map.

So the next time you're on a walk and rest on a public bench, why not take a photo of it and the memorial plaque on it and share it with the world via Open Benches? Not only will you be honouring those who've gone before us, but you'll also be sharing a valuable resource for those who are less able to walk or stand and need to sit down to rest and recuperate.

Day 4/25 Blogmas