It’s National Bed Month! To celebrate this month-long awareness campaign into the importance of getting a good night’s sleep – and the role your bed plays in that – we’ve rounded up 10 of the most famous beds in the world. From TV and film to literature, art and history, here are 10 of the world’s best known beds.
1. BEDKNOBS AND BROOMSTICKS
The story of the enchanted bed and the children who travelled on it has been capturing imaginations for decades. Set in England during the Blitz, Bedknobs and Broomsticks follows the adventures of three evacuated children, as they travel around a magical world to help the trainee Witch they’re staying with complete her training. This magical tale is based on the books by English author Mary Norton, and was brought to life on screen by Walt Disney in 1971.
2. JOHN LENNON & YOKO ONO’S 'BED IN'
While most honeymooning couples spend a reasonable amount of time in bed, John Lennon and Yoko Ono took it a step further. Just a few days after their wedding, Lennon and Ono took to bed in Room 902 of Amsterdam’s Hilton Hotel, where they stayed for a week-long ‘Bed In For Peace’ to protest the ongoing Vietnam war. From March 25th to March 31st the newlyweds remained in bed, receiving visitors for 12 hours a day, before relocating for a second week-long ‘Bed In’ in the Fairmont Queen Elizabeth Hotel in Montreal. Famous by association, both the Amsterdam and Montreal beds are now a magnet for fans of John, Yoko and The Beatles from all over the world.
3. WILLY WONKA & THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY
It’s the ultimate rags-to-riches tale that we all know and love, and it all starts with a bed. In one of the earliest scenes of the iconic adaptation of Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, we see all four of Charlie Bucket’s elderly grandparents huddled in the same bed. While chocolate waterfalls, children transforming into blueberries and flying glass elevators are perhaps more impressive scenes from the 1971 film, this humbling scene of poverty remains one of the most impactful moments of the movie.
4. THE PRINCESS & THE PEA
Written by Hans Christian Anderson, the fable of the Princess and the Pea has been delighting children since the 1830’s. Anderson’s story tells the tale of a Prince who desperately seeks a Princess to marry, and the suspicious Queen who attempts to disprove the Royal blood of his would-be bride by placing a pea beneath a towering pile of mattresses. In an early example of ‘no woman is good enough for my son’ mothers in literature, the Queen claims that only a true Princess would be delicate enough to feel a pea through so many mattresses. When the Princess complains of a poor night’s sleep her heritage is proved and the pair are wed, although we’d bet that the Queen was a really fun mother-in-law to have around…
5. TRACEY EMIN’S ‘MY BED’
Artist Tracey Emin made quite the stir in 1998 when she revealed her controversial work, My Bed. The art installation features an unmade bed surrounded empty vodka bottles, crumpled tissues, cigarettes and condoms, and has been described as ‘setting a new standard for confessional art’. My Bed was first shown in Tokyo in 1998, followed by the Tate in 1999. It quickly became a media sensation.
6. THE GREAT BED OF WARE
Built in 1590, the Great Bed of Ware is a massive oak four poster bed that was originally housed in the White Hart Inn in Ware, England. The enormous bed is thought to have been created originally as a tourist attraction and was publicised as being able to sleep as many as twelve people at a time. The intricately carved headboard and posts would have originally been painted in bright colours, some of which can still be seen, and the bed bears ancient graffiti from the generations of people who carved their initials into the wood.
Based on Stephen King’s bestselling novel of the same name, Misery was a 1990 film about disenchanted author Paul Sheldon and his terrifying encounter with his ‘number one fan’ Annie Wilkes following a car accident. When Wilkes discovers that Sheldon has killed off her favourite character, Misery, she holds him hostage until the lying ol’ dirty birdy can re-write his latest book to ensure Misery survives. In what is undoubtedly the film’s most infamous (and upsetting!) scene, Sheldon is strapped to a wrought iron bed frame while Annie breaks his ankles with a sledgehammer – or ‘hobbles’ him, as she more delicately describes it...
8. THE LINCOLN BED
Despite its moniker, this enormous rosewood bed was never actually used by President Abraham Lincoln himself – although later Presidents Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson and First Lady Grace Coolidge all slept there. The Lincoln Bed is as luxurious as you would expect for the home of a President, with a huge headboard and foot board carved with grapes, grapevines and birds. The bed is 6 feet wide and 8 feet tall.
9. THE CRADLE OF THE KING OF ROME
This intricately adorned crib was the bed of the infant Napoleon II, who would go on to become Emperor of France. Created by a number of prominent 19thcentury artists, included sculptors, silversmiths and painters, the cradle was made using almost 300kg of silver with iconography depicting the achievements of the child's father Napoleon – quite the resting place for a newborn!
10. THE WORLD’S LARGEST BED
Created in 2011, the world’s largest bed measures a staggering 26.5 metres long and 16.44 metres wide, and was created by Commissie Zomerfeesten St Gregorius Hertme from the Netherlands. Given that the largest room in Buckingham Palace is only 18m wide, we can’t see the trend for super-size mattresses catching on any time soon…