St Mary's College students with Sumit Sarkar from Wild in Art.
St Mary's College students with Sumit Sarkar from Wild in Art.

A seat fit for a King! St Mary’s College to have their illustrated bench displayed in London for the King’s coronation

St Mary’s College has been chosen to have their own illustrated bench created and displayed at the Tower of London during the King’s Coronation celebrations in May.

They were one of the 15 chosen from over 1,500 entries across the UK.

Taking inspiration from teaching resources developed by Historic Royal Palaces (HRP) – the charity that cares for the Tower of London – pupils at St Mary’s College have designed their own colourful Coronation benches, around the theme of values for a new era.

Children and young people from across the UK were invited to think about their hopes for the future, alongside the symbolism of the upcoming Coronation, and to create their own bench designs as a visual representation of these ideas.

Pupils at St Mary’s College, who worked on the successful design, will have the chance to work with global public art producers Wild in Art to refine their illustrations, before their bench is brought to life and installed at the Tower of London during the Coronation celebrations. These students have been invited on a VIP class trip to the Tower of London as a reward for their efforts, where they will see the Crown Jewels, take part in themed activities, and have the opportunity to see their bench in situ.

The 15 winners were selected by a panel of judges at the Tower of London, from over 1,500 thoughtful and inspiring bench designs submitted from around the UK. The winning submissions were selected for their imaginative approaches, and thoughtful design. The illustrated designs helped to convey what matters to children and young people today, with themes ranging from unity and peace, to resilience and care for the environment.

Maria Stead, Head of School at St Marys College, said: “I had every faith that we would be able to win this most prestigious of awards due to our amazing, highly innovative and creative Art and Design Department, not to mention the talent of our students. I am so excited that we have been awarded a Coronation Bench, a design focused on everything we believe in our school and in the UK. Our Coronation Bench will have a place in history whilst being seen by millions across the world. What an achievement!”

As a group of young designers, the school’s themes of inspiration were:

  • Caring for the planet and getting out into nature
  • Core values of unity, peace, equality and love
  • Valuing skills and learning for all to support mental health and provide opportunity.

After the coronation and time on display in London, the bench will be brought back to Hull where it will be showcased at the school, where staff, students and visitors will get to experience the special piece forever.

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 15 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.”

Head of Creative Arts at St Mary’s, Rachel explains the process they followed: “As a teacher, what I particularly like about the design is that it captures a vast range of skills that people may be good at, from academic ones like computing and programming to manual skills like bricklaying. It demonstrates their significance and equal importance in one piece of art.

“The students are most excited about travelling to London, some have never been there before and to go to the Tower of London and see their design on display is a once in a lifetime and unbelievable opportunity, we all feel very lucky.”

Hull Minster is the largest parish church in England by floor area