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London close-up: Camel bench, Embankment

Chris Waywell
Camel Bench, Embankment

It's the details that make our city special. Chris Waywell appreciates a nineteenth century approach to seating.

Modern benches tend to fall into one of two categories: either the 'memorial' ('x loved this spot'), or the 'town-planner' (geometric, dosser-repellent). The Victorians didnít do that: if it could be decorative it got two thumbs up. When Cleopatra's Needle arrived on the Embankment in 1878, it was joined by some inspired Egyptian-themed benches, so the casual stroller could pause a moment and reflect on what a great country Britain was. There are some sphinx-y ones up the road if you feel a riddle coming on, and these brilliantly lumpy laden camels. I love them. If you found them in another city, you'd be instagramming them silly, but they just sit beside the Thames, unnoticed, as the cement lorries thunder past, on their way to construct another pyramid.

Victoria Embankment. 

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Remember when someone went round putting cheeky signs on London's benches? Check 'em out here.

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