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Heroic Self-Sacrifice Memorial in Postman's Park

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by Erin Connelly (subscribe)
I am a medievalist in the process of completing a PhD (involving medieval medicine). I travel as much as possible at home (UK) and abroad. I'm always ready for new experiences!
Published January 18th 2015
Unusual memorial dedicated to everyday heroes
Located in Postman's Park not far from St Paul's Cathedral and the Museum of London is an unusual Victorian memorial in 'Commemoration of Heroic Self-Sacrifice.'

Photo by Erin Connelly


The memorial was created in 1900 by the Victorian painter and social reform advocate GF Watts to honour individuals who had given their lives to save others. The details and dates of these courageous acts, along with the name, age, and occupation of the individuals, are provided on glazed plaques. Most of the tragedies involve typical Victorian era dangers, such as drowning, railway accidents, fire, or poisoning. Sadly, a large number of the plaques are dedicated to children who drowned while trying to rescue friends or siblings.

Details of the tragic events are given in such specifics that it's darkly humourous in some cases. Here is a selection of the type of plaques on display in the memorial.

Photo by Erin Connelly


Photo by Erin Connelly


Photo by Erin Connelly


Photo by Erin Connelly


Photo by Erin Connelly


The memorial is the main reason to visit the park, but other features include a fountain, sundial, and large banana trees. Also, the park adjoins Christian Heritage London, which hosts a museum, walking tours, lecture series, and other cultural events.

The park is accessible via St Martin's Le-Grand / Aldersgate Street or King Edward Street. The closest tube station is St Paul's via the Central Line. The park is so small that it is easy to overlook. If coming from the underground via St Martin's Le-Grand, look for the Christian Heritage building and enter the park through the black iron gate (the park is unmarked). On either side of the park, if you reach Little Britain or the Museum of London, you've gone too far.

Photo by Erin Connelly
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Why? Visit an unusual corner of London
When: 7 days a week, all year, 8am 7pm (or dusk)
Phone: 020 7606 3030
Where: Postman's Park, St Martin's Le-Grand, London EC1A
Cost: Free
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