Thursday, August 25, 2011

Postman's Park, London EC1

Having linked to an item about Postman's Park in a recent Six of the Best, I thought I would visit it myself. I found in on Aldersgate Street, close to St Paul's Cathedral.

It is a trim little park, formed from the churchyard of St Botolph's Aldersgate. As the post I linked to on Historical Trinkets explains, it is most notable for its Memorial to Heroic Self-Sacrifice, the brainchild of artist George Frederic Watts and his wife Mary:
The Memorial consists of a covered walkway with memorial tablets commemorating ordinary people who had given their lives whilst attempting to save the lives of others. The wall was unveiled in 1900, although by this point only four memorial tablets had been installed on the wall.

The memorial tablets are made of ceramic tiles, which were cheaper to produce than engraved stone. The design and styling of the tiles is not completely uniform - although they all follow the same basic principle of green or blue writing on a white background - as the memorials were not all produced and installed at the same time. The wall has space for 120 of these memorials but a lack of funds meant that the project was halted in 1931 with just 53 memorials in place - and only a few of these had been sporadiacally added since Watts' widow withdrew funding from the project in 1910.
The individual memorials are made from tiles, something I have been more aware of since visiting Jackfield, but these are Royal Doulton rather than Shropshire tiles.

Individually, the plaques are moving, but en masse the effect is dangerously close to being comic. Still, I recommend Postman's Park as an oasis in the City and the Memorial has an intriguing historical oddity.

And I was pleased to see that a plaque to a modern-day hero was added in 2009 - the first for 78 years.

If you to know more Wikipedia has a good entry on Postman's Park.

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