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The average park bench or garden seat may not attract a great deal of attention from the general public, but they have a long and fascinating history.

The Coalbrookdale foundry was established in 1709 by Abraham Darby. It used inventive casting techniques to create massive new structures such as a complete cast iron bridge in 1799. By the early Victorian era they were famous for their seats, garden benches, tables and plant stands. Coalbrookdale furniture was exhibited at the Great Exhibition in the Crystal Palace in 1851 and by 1875 their most famous development, the Fern Bench, was appearing in mail order catalogues sent as far away as India!

If you’ve seen Forrest Gump, then you won't be surprised to know that the park bench that Tom Hanks sits on during a large proportion of the movie has become a celebrity in its own right! Although it's made...

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