This scenic space of green park, quite a rarity within the square mile of London, was named after postmen from the General Post Office who used to take their lunch here. These days, City workers use it during their lunch breaks and the odd tourist can also be spotted here.
The park used to be a cemetary, and London had a lack of space to bury its dead. (Bodies would be piled on top of the ground with thin layers of soil placed on top of them, and sometimes the bodies would be cut up to take up less room.) London's lack of grave space became a major problem until graveyards further afield were open. At this time, Postman's Park became a park. Gravestones can still be seen in the park area.
The park was used as a setting in the 2004 film "Closer", starring Natalie Portman, Julia Roberts, and Jude Law. One of the key elements of the film was taken from this park with one of the characters choosing their identity from one of the names in one of the memorial plaques.
On one side of the park is a memorial wall. The memorial wall is known as G.F. Watts's Memorial to Heroic Self Sacrifice. The wall was unveiled in 1900 and was conceived and undertaken by Victorian artist George Frederic Watts. The wall contains plaques dedicated to those who lost their lives trying to save one another. According to the plaque about the memorial in the park, Watts believed that these "everyday" heroes were models of great behaviour and character. The plaque ends with the quote:
"The material prosperity of a nation is not an abiding possession; the deeds of its people are" - G.F. Watts
Underneath is an excerpt from the Bible, John 15:13:
"Greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends."
The wall was proposed as a way to mark the Queen's Golden Jubilee Year as Watts wrote in to a newspaper in 1887.
Here are just a few.
Sarah Smith: Pantomime Artist. January 24, 1864. Died of terrible injuries when attempting in her inflammable dress to extinguish the flames that enveloped her companion.
Arthur Regelous Carman ("Little Peter") aged 25, who with Alice Maud Denman, aged 27, died trying to save her children from a burning house in Bethnal Green. April 20, 1902.
Arthur Strange, carman of London, and Mark Tomlinson. August 25, 1902. On a desperate venture to save two girls from a quicksand in Lincolnshire were themselves engulfed.
Henry James Bristow, aged 8, at Walhamstow. December 30, 1890 - saved his little sister's life by tearing off her faming clothes but caught fire himself and died of burns and shock.
Joseph William Onslow, lighterman, who was drowned at Wapping on May 5, 1885, trying to save a boy's life.
David Selves, aged 12, off Woolwich supported his drowning playfellow and sank with him clasped in his arms. September 12, 1886.
Ernest Benning, composer aged 22. Upset from a boat one dark night off Pimlico Pier. Grasped an oar with one hand supporting a woman with the other but sank as she was rescued. August 25, 1883.
Thomas Simpson. January 25, 1885. Died of exhaustion after saving many lives from the breaking ice at Highgate Ponds.
Richard Farris, labourer. May 20, 1878. Drowned in attempting to save a poor girl who had thrown herself into the canal at Globe Bridge Peckham.
George Lee, fireman. At a fire in Clerkenwell carried an unconscious girl to the escape falling six times and died of his injuries. July 26, 1876.
William Drake. April 2, 1869. Lost his life in averting a serious accident to a lady in Hyde Park whose horses were unmanageable through the breaking of the carriage pole.
For more information about Postman's Park memorial, visit the website: http://postmanspark.org.uk
An app (available for iOS and Andriod mobile devices) can also be downloaded where visitors to Postman's Park can view more information about those who will never be forgotten by sacrificing themselves.