A set of ancient stone benches in the City of London is close to marking its 4th anniversary as both ornament and utility of the city streets, and roughly 140 million years since the stone was formed.

It’s the Architectural Student Award from 2012, and was carved from Portland Stone.

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The stone if you look closely is not that dense, being an oolitic limestone, consisting of coarse sea shells cemented together with calcium carbonate. It once formed the bed of an ancient sea at a time when most of Southern England was under the newly formed Atlantic Ocean.

If you look carefully, you’ll be able to see the echoes of ancient clams, mussels and snails in the stones.

The idea for the steeped design is that people of all ages can use the bench.

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The bench itself was designed by Chris Dove and Craig Mitchell, and was unveiled on the 24th October 2012.

The carving work was done by apprentices from the Cathedral Works Organisation and The Masons Company, one of the City of London’s ancient livery companies.

It could probably do with a clean now, but you can find it on the corner of of Cheapide, near St Paul’s tube station. When you pop your bum on it, you are sitting on a stone dragged from the depths of the ocean to here in London over a period of millions of years. It’s had a long journey. It saw the dinosaurs wiped out. Respect it.

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