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London, England

Postman's Park: Memorial to Heroic Self Sacrifice

A quiet memorial to those who died saving others in the heart of the City of London. 

This small and quiet park has a hidden gem, a wall of memorial plaques opened in 1900, commemorating the bravery of ordinary people, policemen, and firemen who gave their own lives to save another.

A project of artist George Frederic Watts, the plaques are exquisitely executed with ornate typeface and Royal Doulton china designed by leading tile designer William De Morgan. They are a pleasure to behold in this small green space in such a built up area, even before you begin to unravel the story behind them.

The tales they illustrate bring to life a world devoid of warning signs and health and safety regulations, along with a sense of community spirit and two fingers up to the indifference that can sometimes be found in the modern world today.

Some examples of the plaques:

‘Soloman Galaman Aged 11, Died saving his little brother from being run over in Commerical Street in Sept 1901’

‘Alice Ayres, Daughter of a bricklayer’s labourer, who by intrepid conduct saved 3 children from a burning house…at the cost of her own young life, April 1885’

‘William Goodrum Aged 60, Signalman. Lost his life at Kingsland Rd Bridge in saving a workman from death under the approaching train form Kew’

Some of the short tales told on the wall include tales of firemen who died trying to pull victims from burning buildings, a number of people who perished while trying to save others from drowning, heroes who were run down in the streets by carriages, and people who were killed while trying to prevent the suicide of others. There are dozens of great tales on the wall.

In 2013 an app was released called Everyday Heroes of Postman’s Park, that allows users to check out in-depth profiles of the heroes on the wall.

Know Before You Go

Off Little Britain and not far from St Pauls Cathedral.

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