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The best seat in the house! Winning schools to have their Coronation bench designs brought to life at the Tower of London

Schools across the UK have been on the edge of their seats waiting for the winners of the national Coronation Benches competition to be announced. Today, Historic Royal Palaces can reveal that fifteen winners have been selected from over 1,500 fantastic entries, to be developed with global public art producers Wild in Art and installed at the Tower of London during the Coronation celebrations.

Children and young people from across the country have designed their own illustrated Coronation benches, exploring their hopes for the future during the reign of His Majesty King Charles III. This national competition to celebrate the Coronation has seen participating schoolchildren create designs inspired by their values and symbols that they wish to define the new era.

The winning designs share some insight into what matters to children and young people today, with themes ranging from unity and peace, to resilience and care for the environment. A number of designs reference the symbolic flowers of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, animals and insects, and words that are important to young people, such as “community”, “friendship” and “courage”.

Historic Royal Palaces (HRP) – the independent charity that cares for the Tower of London – has developed a collection of teaching resources to support all schools across the country as they mark this historic moment in the classroom. Pupils have the opportunity to explore the Coronation as a moment of transition and discover the symbolism of objects traditionally used in the ceremony, including the Crown Jewels. Many of the winning bench designs have been inspired by the use of these resources in the classroom, and feature drawings of the Coronation regalia and other symbols of monarchy.

The benches will go on display at the Tower of London, the home of the Crown Jewels and a site that has seen many Coronations in its long history. At the heart of the collection are the Coronation Regalia: the sacred objects used during the Coronation ceremony to represent the powers and responsibilities of the monarch.

The winning schools will also enjoy a VIP class trip to visit the Tower of London and see their benches in situ after they have been installed during the first week of May. The benches will remain at the Tower throughout the Coronation celebrations for everyone to enjoy before being gifted back to the schools as a permanent reminder of this historic year. The winning school from Northern Ireland will have the opportunity to see their bench on display at Hillsborough Castle and Gardens, the official royal residence in Northern Ireland.

The winning benches were selected by a panel of judges at the Tower of London, including representatives from Historic Royal Palaces, Kids in Museums, Young V&A and the Group for Education in Museums.

Ceri Fox, Senior Learning Producer at Historic Royal Palaces, said:

“It was fantastic to have such an overwhelming response from schools to our national competition, and to see so many thoughtful and imaginative designs. Selecting just fifteen winners from so many great submissions was tough, and we are looking forward to welcoming the students and their benches to the Tower of London this summer.”

Caroline Marcus, Chair of the Group for Education in Museums (GEM), said:

“It is wonderful to see young people given such an opportunity to contribute their voices to a significant moment in history, conveying their hopes for this new era at the Tower of London and Hillsborough Castle and Gardens. The high quality of work submitted from children and young people across the UK made it a very difficult decision for the judges. I hope that when the winning schools visit this summer they feel incredibly proud to see their values represented at these famous landmarks.”

Notes to editors

For more information about the Tower of London and to book tickets, please visit: https://www.hrp.org.uk/tower-of-london/

For more information on the Coronation schools project and for online learning resources, please visit: https://www.hrp.org.uk/schools/the-tower-of-london-schools-coronation-competition/

For further information or images about the Tower of London, please contact the HRP Press Office via [email protected] / 020 3166 6166

Full list of Winning Schools

Alderwood Senior School, Aldershot
Blythefield Primary School, Belfast
Booker Avenue Infant School, Liverpool
Broomfield School, London
Corpus Christi Primary School, Glasgow
Dacre Braithwaite Primary School, Harrogate
Foreland Fields School, Kent
Fulwell Junior School, Sunderland
Llanishen High School, Cardiff
Loughton School, Milton Keynes
Milnthorpe Primary School, Cumbria
Moorlands Primary School, Huddersfield
Slade Primary School, Kent
St Mary’s College, Hull
The Blue Coat School, Birmingham

 

Historic Royal Palaces is a team of people who love and look after six of the most wonderful palaces in the world. We create space for spirits to stir and be stirred. We want everyone to feel welcome and accepted. We tell stories about the monarchs you know and the lives you don’t. We let people explore and we set minds racing. We are a charity and your support gives the palaces a future, for everyone.

Registered charity number 1068852. For more information visit www.hrp.org.uk

 

Wild in Art is the leading producer of spectacular public art events that entertain, enrich, inform and leave a lasting legacy. It brings together businesses and creative sectors with schools and local communities through the creation of uniquely painted sculptures.

Since 2008 Wild in Art has animated cities across the world including London, Manchester, Sydney, Auckland, Cape Town and São Paulo, and created trails for the London 2012 Olympics, the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Historic Royal Palaces and Penguin Random House.

Wild in Art events have:

  • Enabled over £23.6m to be raised for charitable causes
  • Injected £3.8m into local creative communities
  • Engaged over 1 million young people in learning programmes
  • Helped millions of people of all ages to experience art in non-traditional settings

wildinart.co.uk | @wildinart | #wildinart

 

BROWSE MORE HISTORY AND STORIES

Coronations Past and Present

An ancient ceremony, largely unchanged for a thousand years

The Crown Jewels

The history of the Crown Jewels, including the Imperial State Crown - a priceless collection used to crown the kings and queens of England.

The story of the Tower of London

Iconic fortress, royal palace and infamous prison