Devilish Devenish-Phibbs bench-plaques around London

This week's Time Out London details a wicked and arch web-hoax-thing; someone has put plaques on benches all around London celebrating the eccentric Devenish-Phibbs family (in London, as in many places, public benches are paid for as memorials and get a small plaque to accompany them); the Devenish-Phibbs benches include "You're born, you're dying, you're dead. If your relatives are cheap they get you a bench. Monty Devenish-Phibbs 1847 - 1910" and "This was one of my favourite views. You can see it better if you move along the bench a bit. Come on, shuffle along. Bit more. More. No, more. There. Now look In commemoration of Barbara Devenish-Phibbs: Mother, wife, nag."

The joke circles back to, a site seemingly maintained by a cranky "silver surfer" who is offering rewards for information about his family's many plaques. When Time Out contacted him, he stayed in character (if, indeed, it is a character) perfectly: "As I explain on my home page I'm appealing for information about any of the hundreds of Devenish-Phibbs around Great Britain and sending out rewards for people who pass on details and photographs. Winter is beginning to take its toll and three residents have died in recent weeks. There's a rather macabre sense that The Bingo of Eternity is in session - whose number will be called next? With warm regards, Croy Devenish-Phibbs."

London's benches and the strange case of Croy Devenish-Phibbs

Croy Devenish-Phibbs


  1. I love this. It makes me miss home. I’ll never look at a park bench in the same way.

  2. Now that it has Internet Attention and Popularity Boost v2.0, its only a matter of days before he is unmasked, or maybe the page will just turn again on this story..

  3. Once witnessed a divorce document that proudly proclaimed, “and to my adulteress alcoholic whore wife, I leave the sum total of 19.99, so she can buy a decent bottle of wine.”

  4. “If you can hear this, then you’re less dead than me” = Very awesome last words! I hope I remember this. What a wonderful use of one’s last breath!

  5. This is not a hoax. Croy is real – my father went to prep school with him in Birmingham, and said he was a really special fellow. All I know about him is that he is/was an historian, and was kicked out of the RAF for womanizing (a superior officer’s wife, apparently). Also, Mulloy Devenish-Phibbs was the mayor, resident drunk & greeter-of-fisherman at Dalbeg, a little village in Scotland where my father and I fished regularly in the sixties. I’m sure he’s no longer with us, he was elderly back then. You don’t forget a name (or a person!) like that.


    Biul MacCord

  6. Hoax or not, that’s up there with my favourite bench, which is on the south side of St Andrew’s square, Edinburgh, which is dedicated to a woman who “Loved to Sit”

  7. “Biul MacCord” – I suspect you are actually “Builin Malleg”!!

    Great story, tho’!

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