Chic Teak Unveils Commemorative Philip Larkin Bench at Hull Paragon Station

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An engraved round tree bench supplied by a leading supplier of outdoor garden furniture, Chic Teak, was recently unveiled at Hull Paragon Station by the Philip Larkin Society to mark the anniversary of the English poet and novelist's death.

Engraved tree bench unveiled to commemorate the anniversary of the death of Philip Larkin the English poet and novelist.

The bench will be another enhancement to a wonderful station and another recognition of the link between the poet and one of his favourite places in Hull.

The 125cm round tree bench, inscribed with ‘All sense of being in a hurry gone’ was unveiled on the 2nd December by The Lord Lieutenant of the County, Hon. Mrs Susan Cunliffe-Lister in a ceremony attended by over 60 guests. During the ceremony an introductory speech was made by the Lord Major of Hull and the first verse from his poem Whitsun Weddings was read by Hon Susan Cunliffe-Lister.

The poem, one of Larkins’ most popular describes a Whitsun train departing for London and Wedding couples joining the train. ‘All sense of being in a hurry gone’ is a reference to being able to sit and relax before boarding  a train.

Over recent years the Philip Larkin Society has commemorated the English poet and novelist on the anniversary of his death. In 2010 the ‘Martin Jennings’ statue was erected and in 2011, five roundels with poetry inscriptions were installed, all of which are also in the Hull Paragon Station.

The Lord Mayor of Hull, Daniel Brown commented: “The bench will be another enhancement to a wonderful station and another recognition of the link between the poet and one of his favourite places in Hull.”

In his thank you speech Professor Edwin Dawes, Chairman of the Philip Larkin Society  suggested an indirect link through the makers of the bench– Chic-Teak, who have made similar benches for Lord’s Cricket Ground, home of the elite Marylebone Cricket Club, the MCC, of which body Philip Larkin was a proud member, and loved to wear their tie.  He had been elected to membership in 1974, proposed by his friends Harold Pinter and Ansell Egerton, and thereafter every August it became a ritual to attend the Test or Varsity match.

The ceremony itself wasn’t without its own drama after the storeroom in which the teak bench was kept for security, couldn’t be unlocked. Fortunately Railway staff did eventually access the room and the time lost was made up as the bench itself was quickly and easily assembled.
After the unveiling the guests attended a special luncheon in the adjoining Royal Hotel, the stations hotel.

The Statue, Roundels and now the teak Bench are a firm feature, along with Larkin Trail, on the tourist map of the area.

For more information on The Philip Larkin Society visit their web site http://www.philiplarkin.com

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Robert Bowden
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