Fantastic Factology

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All over the Park, tucked away on silver plaques set into benches, amazing facts and local recollections tell an alternative story of the Park and provide an opportunity to wonder and learn. Topics as diverse as astrology and zoology sit alongside more personal memories and thoughtful moments. The project was a collaboration between London-based architecture and design studio We Made That, artist Riitta Ikonen, and the Klassnik Corporation, an interdisciplinary design practice.


Over 2,000 facts were submitted by both local residents and famous people, such as the late astronomer Patrick Moore and mathematician Johnny Ball. These weird and wonderful fragments of knowledge are an unusual twist on the traditional park bench plaque.


The design team ran a series of events and participatory workshops to inspire and collect facts, asking everyone from school children to senior groups.


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South Park
Bench Plaque Inscription
Bench01.jpg FF01.jpg "The London Olympic Games of 1908 were the first to use a specially constructed pool for the swimming - previous competitions took place in seas, rivers and lakes"
Bench02.jpg FF02.jpg "Above temperatures of 4 degrees Celsius, cold water is heavier than hot water"
Bench03.jpg FF03.jpg "There are over a dozen rivers flowing beneath London's streets and buildings"
Bench04.jpg FF04.jpg "The single span roof of the Aquatics Centre is approximately 160 metres long and up to 80 metres wide"
Bench05.jpg FF05.jpg "In a 100 year period, a water molecule will spend 98 years in the ocean, 20 months as ice, bout two weeks in lakes and rivers and less than a week in the atmosphere"
Bench06.jpg FF06.jpg "Gold is the most malleable of all metals, a single gram can be beaten into a sheet with an area of 1 square metre"
Bench07.jpg FF07.jpg "Sub atomic particles called neutrinos emitted from the sun, pass through the Earth at a rate of 65 billion per square centimetre every second"
Bench08.jpg FF08.jpg "The Yardley's soap factory near Carpenters Road (now the Olympic Park) closed in the 1960s. Thirty years later when it rained you could still smell the soap"
Bench09.jpg FF09.jpg "Before the arrival of the Olympic Park this site hosted the largest pile of fridges in Europe, nicknamed the 'Fridge Mountain'"
Bench10.jpg FF10.jpg "Dry cleaning was first introduced to the UK in 1876 by Achille Sarre who opened his factory on the Olympic Park site in 1896"
Bench11.jpg FF11.jpg "Alexander Parkes invented the first man-made plastic called Parkesine in 1856, manufacturing it in a factory on Wallis Road, now the site of the Olympic Park"
Bench12.jpg FF12.jpg "Everyone is someone's favourite"
Bench13.jpg FF13.jpg "It deosn't mttaer in waht oredr ltteers in a wrod are witrten, the olny ipmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer are in the rghit pclae"
Bench14.jpg FF14.jpg "RaguAllaBolognese: brwn@med 250g grndbeef/dice onion&celery&carrot/s+p/3T buttr&olvoil; + 1/4c tompaste/2T h2o. Cvr1 1/2h@low Toss+aldentepasta"
Bench15.jpg FF15.jpg "The furthest man-made object from Earth is the Voyager 1 spacecraft. It is more than 17 billion kilometres away from Earth and continues to travel"
Bench16.jpg FF16.jpg "On average this bench is 93 million miles from the sun"
Bench17.jpg FF17.jpg "Planet Earth is moving at 67,027 miles per hour around the sun"
Bench18.jpg FF18.jpg "The Incas based their measurement of time on how long it takes to boil a potato"
Bench19.jpg FF19.jpg "There are more stars in the universe than there are grains of sand on the Earth"
Bench20.jpg FF20.jpg "The person you love is approximately 65% water"
Bench21.jpg FF21.jpg "If you turn some species of shark upside down they will go into a trance-like state called 'tonic immobility' lasting approximately fifteen minutes"
Bench22.jpg FF22.jpg "Cumulonimbus clouds occur at approximately 9.7 kilometres above this bench. These clouds are believed to hold up to half a million tons of water"
Bench23.jpg FF23.jpg "Hair grows as a speed of approximately 0.35 millimetres per day"
Bench24.jpg FF24.jpg "You spent approximately half an hour existing as a single cell"
Bench25.jpg FF25.jpg "This bench is made from wood from the Cumaru tree, also known as Dipteryx odorata"


North Park
Bench Plaque Inscription
Bench26.jpg FF26.jpg "Hummingbirds are the only birds that can fly backwards"
Bench27.jpg FF27.jpg "Oxygen can be a poisonous gas, if you have too much you could go blind"
Bench28.jpg FF28.jpg "A femtosecond is to a second what a second is to 31.7 million years"
Bench29.jpg FF29.jpg "The sun shines with the equivalent of 386,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 watts"
Bench30.jpg FF30.jpg "The sky is blue because the shorter blue wavelengths of light are scattered in all directions by gas molecules while longer red wavelengths are less affected"
Bench31.jpg FF31.jpg "On average the sun is 150 million kilometres from the Earth. At his top speed is would take 2008 Olympic cycling champion Chris Hoy over 230 years to travel that far"