Where have all our public benches gone? Remember the days when cars were not the most important things on our streets? Remember when streets were places of public interaction, where old ladies had somewhere to sit and chat, where children would play and we had this thing called a community. There seems to be a plan to rip up all of our public space and keep us off the streets and scared in our houses.

Camden council in London decided to remove several public benches, for the benefit of the public last year. Along with a scheme to convert all bus stops to be fitted with un-usable benches. The basic plan seems to be to move on undesirables and homeless people away as they don't fit in with the aesthetics of the area. Rather than addressing these problems they have taken the usual tactic of moving them on and hoping that someone else will deal with them.

It was therefore with relief that we completely randomly bumped into four people calling themselves "Guerrilla Benchers" at 7am one morning. It is worth remembering at this point that these people have NOTHING WHAT SO EVER to do with the Space Hijackers (Honest). Fed up with the state of public space these urban guerrillas have decided to start fighting back.

Turning up painfully earling in the morning, armed with 18v hammer drills, high visibility vests and two benches these daring builders arrived at the site of two previously removed benches to begin re-installation.

Due to the colossal and inorganised nature of local councils, and their cunning disguises the guerrilla benchers were not approached or questioned by anyone as they installed the benches.

Unfortunately however the drills ran out of batteries just after the first bench had been installed. In true workman style it was obviously time for a fry-up breakfast and cup of tea whilst the batteries re-charged.

A hearty concoction of fried eggs, beans, mushrooms, chips and omlette first thing in the morning put the wind back in the sails of our builders and it was off to install bench number two.

 

 

Bench number two was sucessfully bolted down and the builders work was done. Time to test it out.

A quick change back into civilian clothing and the team was able to try out the bench for real.

Below agent Ladybird stops for a coffee with some familiar looking characters on one of London's newest pieces of public street furniture.


Special thanks to agents Ladybird, Gemma and Shalini for their amazingly co-incidental timing,
turning up and photographing the action of these mysterious characters.

And as for the vote from our elderly friends?

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