On your daily mental health walk through your local park, you might not necessarily stop and read every park bench plaque you come across. Most are sincere recollections of fond memories with lost loved ones, while some have little but a name.
But tucked away in a North London park sits a park bench with perhaps the most bizarre dedication ever inscribed upon a plaque. The message reads: “In memory of Roger Bucklesby, who hated this park and everyone in it.”
The image has gone viral on social media a few times. Of course it has – it is objectively very funny. But the real story behind the plaque isn’t quite as simple as a grumpy old man leaving behind one final bit of sass before he left the park for good.
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In fact, Roger Bucklesby isn’t a real person. He’s a fictional character dreamt up by author Jamie Maslin, who had the plaque installed the day before he emigrated to Australia. The bench was first implemented in September 2013, according to a Buzzfeed report from that year.
Buzzfeed decided not to reveal which North London park the bench resides in, to prevent a local council from removing it. Maslin worried the sarcastic plaque could be considered vandalism given official plaques cost £800 to install.
Maslin said the character of Roger was born after a friend told him he was being a “whinger” and described the character as “irritable and Victorian”. He added: “Old Roger lifted my spirits and soon we were working on his backstory – a prolific author but never published, getting bitterer and bitterer with every failed submission.
I’m Tom, a News Reporter at MyLondon with a special interest in covering LGBTQ+ issues and anything whacky or bizarre going down in your local Facebook group. I started in January 2021, and I’m based in Bermondsey. You can follow my Facebook page here.
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“At first he came to the park for inspiration but eventually he began to resent the place for encouraging him to chase his dreams. It gave us such a good laugh (and cheered me up immensely) that we decided to get the plaque made.
“We had no plans for this to turn into an internet hit, we just hoped the occasional passerby would see it and have a giggle. It seems we’ve done plenty of that.”
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