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Postman’s Park

King Edward Street London EC4M 7DQ

Accessible from King Edward Street or Aldergate Street, in the heart of the City, Postman’s Park opened in 1880 and was the lunchtime haunt of workers from the nearby Post Office building – hence the name. These days it’s still popular with workers as a lunchtime picnic spot, but many also visit to see the Watts Memorial wall of 1900, built of painted and glazed Doulton tiles to commemorate the heroic acts of ‘everyday men and women’ who have given their lives attempting to save others, and who would otherwise be forgotten. GF Watts was a Victorian painter and philanthropist who wrote to The Times in 1887 proposing a place to commemorate everyday heroes as a worthy way to mark Victoria’s Golden Jubilee. No one supported the idea, so he did it himself, with his wife Mary continuing to add tiles after his death in 1904. Each tile is dedicated to a person and a particular tragic and heroic act: there are children saving siblings, occupations that no longer exist and situations that would never happen now but are poignant and heartbreaking. You may recognise the name Alice Ayres, as Natalie Portman’s character in Closer; the park featured in the film. The most recent addition was added in 2009 to commemorate print technician Leigh Pitt, the first addition to the wall for 78 years. Bring tissues.

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