Tucked away out of the hustle and bustle of the city is a leafy green park with an interesting background. It is a City of London park with historic hidden memorials called Postman‘s Park. Here you can learn about the Everyday Heroes of London and the heroic self-sacrifice they gave in Victorian times.
Postman’s Park stands on the site of a previous church and it is one of the largest hidden gardens located in the City of London. It opened in 1880 and it quickly became a popular leisure place to go for the post office workers. On their breaks they would sit in the park, thus the park soon becoming known as “Postman’s Park.”
If you are looking for somewhere interesting and quiet to go to in the City of London then this is everything you need to know about London’s Postman’s Park Memorial.. It may seem like any ordinary park however there is something quite unique about this park as it has a memorial wall that tells sad stories of the past heroes who sacrificed their own lives for others.
Everything you need to know before you go to Postman’s Park Memorial in London, a park with heroic hidden memorials that tell a story of self-sacrifice
If you are wandering through this part of the city you may just miss this park memorial which is also known as the Watts memorial. This real hidden gem is a calm oasis in the bustle of London and it’s truly worth visiting. So if you are anywhere near the St Paul’s region of the city or if you are a history lover a trip to the Park memorial is a must. The park is also free to visit and an ideal place to stop for lunch. You could even grab a sandwich in the nearby Sandwhich shop Piccolo Bar in Gresham street. It is the perfect place to sit and eat lunch and reflect
Why is this London park in England with hidden memorials unique?
Of all the London statues and memorials this is one you have to see. Tucked away in Postman’s Park is a wall of beautiful ornate tiles with stories of every day heroes that lost theirs lives trying to save others.
This unique memorial at postmans park was created by George Frederic Watts a Victorian painter. It was built in 1900 and stands overlooking the main part of the park. The large memorial monument consists of a long wooden cloister with a tiled covered roof and a line of benches for seating. Adorning the walls are poignant stories of of men and women’s heroic sacrifice’s on ornate memorial tiles. At the time of opening only four of the memorial tiles were in place.
These tiles were originally manufactured by William De Morgan but after his retirement they were then made by Royal Doulton.
The shelter stretches along a wall and has fifty four memorial tablets commemorating sixty two men, women as well as children, each of whom lost their life while attempting to save another.
Before becoming a Park it was a church yard
There has always been a church on this site in Aldersgate since 1291. Postman’s Park opened in 1880 on the site of the former churchyard and burial ground of St Botolph’s Aldersgate church. This former church yard of St Botolph in Aldersgate was cleared in 1850 to 1880 for use as a public park. It took so long to clear as many remains had to be moved from graves. Some gravestones still remain in parts of the park tucked away behind bushes.
This area is seemingly fitting for that of a memorial place with beautiful trees, plants, flowers and also benches. Plenty of opportunity for you to sit there quietly and gather your thoughts. The whole area is completely serene and it almost takes your breath away as you read these sad stories displayed on the wall.
Who are the people on the plaques in Postman’s Park memorial?
There are many different people on the Postman’s park plaques including children. Here are some of the stories of their heroic endeavours.
The earliest plaque and the last plaque
Of the many individuals featured on the wall ;
- The earliest case is that of Sarah Smith, a pantomime artist who died in 1863
- The latest is Leigh Pitt who drowned in 2007.
- The youngest person commemorated is eight year old child Henry Bristow.
- The oldest is a 61 year old man Daniel Pemberton.
Alice Ayres Plaque
Alice Ayres graces one plaque with her story. She was a daughter of a bricklayers labourer. She saved 3 children from a burning house fire in Union street Borough and tragically lost her own life. Her plaque is dated April the 24th 1885.
The plaque of Alfred Smith
The very first plaque is that of Alfred Smith who was a police constable. He was killed in an air raid in the First World War. He saved the lives of women and girls on June 13th 1917 before tragically dying.
This active endeavour occurred during a bombing as he tried to make his way into a large factory. A number of workers mostly female had come out onto the street to escape. He went back into the building to try and save more people and in doing this he subsequently lost his own life.
The plaque reads Alfred Smith police constable, who was killed in an air raid while saving the lives of women and girls.June 13, 1917
The postmans Park plaque of Thomas Simpson
Another plaque tells of a fatal ice accident at Highgate in 1885. A man Thomas Simpson died of exhaustion after saving lives from breaking ice at Highgate ponds. Many people had been skating on the ice that day in 1885. In fact there were hundreds until there was a crash of breaking ice. Thomas took it upon himself to pull people from the water and ice before dying.
You can read many of these heroic events as you stand and look at the the memorial. Sad tales of children drowning trying to save their younger siblings to that of people running into fires to save their families. Every memorial is just as sad yet heroic as the other one.
Key to memorials in Postmans Park
There was originally an Everyday Heroes of Postman’s Park app for you to read about these individuals, but sadly this no longer exists. If you would like to read more facts about these heroic deaths the London walking tour has a fascinating insight and key guide of the heroic memorials. In this listing you can read about each and every plaque one by one along with newspaper clippings and accounts.
Postman’s park plants and flowers
Not only does Postman’s Park have this significant memorial it is also a very pretty place to sit and contemplate. As you walk in the main entrance from Kind Edward Street the walls are lined with huge Shrubs and trees. There you will find the most amazing Camillias in an array of colors!
You can also find other plants in the garden from lace Hydrangeas to spring flowers and ornate trees. In fact there are so many of different sizes colours and varieties they are just beautiful.
The park is regularly maintained with fresh spring flowers and summer flower displays throughout the year
There’s even a large handkerchief tree which has striking displays of floral branches and in the light spring according to Kew Gardens has small reddish purple flower heads.
Where is Postman’s park in London?
Postman’s Park memorial is in London City and is located at;
Martin’s Le Grand London EC1A
The London park Is open daily to the public while it is still light. It is free to explore. The nearest tube station is St. Paul’s underground station
Why is it called postman’s park?
The Park is called postman’s Park because the General Post Office was nearby in St Martin Le Grand. Many postal workers came here for some quiet space and a spot of lunch thus it soon became called Postman’s Park!
What’s near Postman’s Park?
Near to Postman’s Park are some other interesting places to explore!
- A Blue police call box near outside postman’s park; Just outside the gates of the park is an old original London police callbox.
- St Paul’s Cathedral; Just a 10 minute walk away is St Paul’s Cathedral.
- The Museum of London is a 4 minute walk away.
- The Old Bailey is 7 minutes walk away.
- Poets Corner on the original site of St Mary Aldermanbury, 2 minute walk.
- St Anne & St Agnes Garden
- The Old London City Wall Old Bastion
- ChristChurch Greyfriars Church Yard
Postman’s Park Movie Locations
Fun fact! There have been many movies filmed at Postman’s Park including tomb Raider and the film Closer. The film closer in 2004 was based on the play by Patrick Marbar the plot revolves around one of the memorials in the Park of Alice Ayers.
Postman’s Park opening times
Postman’s Park is open every day until the park gates close at dusk or 7pm whichever is earlier.
Opening hours are; 8am to 7pm or dusk. Postman’s Park is Closed Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day.