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Postman's Park

Postman’s Park

Route
From Smithfield Memorial, go down Little Britain which is next to the plaque. Follow this road to the right. Cross Little Britain. Turn right. Enter King Edward Street. Postman’s Park is on the left.

Background information

Postman’s Park is a peaceful garden that contains the Watts Memorial to Heroic Self-Sacrifice. It is the former churchyard of St Botolph-Without-Aldersgate church. You can see a ‘Tablet Erected to the Glory of God in Commemoration of the Evangelical Conversion of Revd. John Wesley’ on the railings.

The park is named after the postmen who worked at the former post office premises nearby. Fifty four ceramic plaques tell the stories of ordinary people, many of them children, who showed heroic acts of self-sacrifice. These included Alice Ayres, a maid, who died saving her master’s children from fire in 1885.

The memorial was suggested by artist George Frederic Watts (1817-1904) in a letter to The Times on 5 September 1887, as a way of commemorating Queen Victoria’s 50th Jubilee year. He stated,

“It must surely be a matter of regret when names worthy to be remembered and stories stimulating and instructive are allowed to be forgotten.,,It is not much to say that the history of Her Majesty’s reign would gain a lustre were the nation to erect a monument, say, here in London, to record the names of those likely to be forgotten heroes…. The material prosperity of a nation is not an abiding possession; the deeds of its people are.”

In 11 July 2009, a new tile was added to remember a city worker who died rescuing a boy who fell into a canal. It reads:

Leigh Pitt (30)
Reprographic Operator
Aged 30. Died saving a drowning boy from the canal at Thamesmead, but sadly was unable to save himself
June 2, 2007

His fiancée, Hema Shah, stated,

“Leigh showed strength of human courage and he thought of another before himself. Sometimes it is easier for people to turn a blind eye and I would hope Leigh’s actions would inspire someone to help another.”

Reflections

  • Why do people sometimes look away and why do some people choose to act?
  • Is there still a need for a place like Postman’s Park?

Activities

  • Interview pupils and members of staff about stories of courage in their own lives and in their family’s history.
  • Turn their stories into ‘tiles’, similar to those in Postman’s Park, for a wall of courage that celebrates ordinary people’s acts of bravery.

Practical points

This is a good outdoor place to have a rest and eat.

King Edward Street/Aldersgate Street entrances
London
EC1A 4EU

www.wattsgallery.org.uk

http://www.urban75.org/london/postman.html

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