Hidden Gem: Postman’s Park

We’ve now been in London for about three months. It feels like an eternity with everything we have seen to date! The first month concentrated on getting us settled in a permanent flat in order to spring board us into month two of getting settled into a routine. Now that we are at month three, I guess we can call this living.

In a way to keep myself busy and not go crazy by twiddling my thumbs in my apartment, I’ve been searching out things to do on a budget or for free in London. Let’s not forget that this city is one of the most expensive in the world. Jeff helped me figure out a long list of things to do and the first I came across was Postman’s Park

When I was in high school, the movie Closer was released. I love serious and dramatic cinema so this was right up my alley. I can’t even remember how many times I saw this movie in theaters, but it certainly did influence my directorial debut in my senior year film project. So, when I saw Postman’s Park on the list, my “oh yeah” light bulb went off.

Postman's Park SignI headed back toward the Museum of London next to St. Paul’s Cathedral and wandered around the side streets for a while relying heavily on my phone GPS trying to track down this park. A couple of sparse street signs finally had me go around in a circle to enter a tiny patch of green that would be missed easily if it wasn’t for a tiny square sign.

I walked in and it was really extraordinary. Not the size of the park, but what surrounded it. This tiny park was sandwiched between two large buildings and was situated right in the middle of the financial district. I was almost surprised it hadn’t been demolished or overtaken by the growing metropolis. But here it stood with a few benches and trees with a few grave headstones along the borders and of course the famous wall. 2014-03-21 11.55.40

Off to the right, there is a wall lined with ceramic plaques dedicated to those who died saving someone else’s life. I read each one somberly paying particular attention to the ages of some of those who perished. There were at least three that were for children who died trying to save another child or sibling.

2014-03-21 11.56.37By the thirtieth epitaph, I found myself tearing up. It was just extraordinary that these people over time sacrificed themselves for others whether it was in a burning building, ice lake, or the river Thames. The most recent plaque was dedicated to man in 2007 who dove into the Thames after a drowning child. There was a 78 year gap between Leigh Pitt and the previous person memorialized.

As I was leaving the park, a couple of kids approached me asking me if I’d like to be a part of their documentary by answering some questions. I smiled and said absolutely bringing me back to my own project that this park helped influence in a roundabout way.

They asked me how I heard about Postman’s Park and if Britain would benefit from having more places like this aroun2014-03-21 12.08.18d the city and country. I said that I had first heard about the park from the film and wanted to see it for myself, and then of course Britain could benefit from having more tranquil places around.

As I said these words, the sounds of sirens and trucks banging on the paved streets punctuated my thoughts. I said I was sure Britain would have no trouble digging up some historical spots to make a sacred space giving a nod to those who found King Richard III under a parking lot.

As I left the park, I took a turn and headed straight toward the financial district to admire the buildings that overpowered me. It was a pretty stark transition to be surrounded by hundreds of years of history literally underneath your feet and then to marvel at the height of glass buildings and men in suits flooding the streets at lunch hour.

I plan to find many more hidden gems around this city and share them with you whether to give you an excuse to find them yourself or to see the world through my eyes. Enjoy more pictures below I took from that day.

2014-03-21 11.56.01  2014-03-21 11.56.57  2014-03-21 11.58.17    2014-03-21 12.06.17 2014-03-21 13.23.50    2014-03-21 12.16.29 2014-03-21 12.18.01 2014-03-21 13.22.26 2014-03-21 13.25.08 2014-03-21 13.27.03 2014-03-21 13.38.26 2014-03-21 13.40.14

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One thought on “Hidden Gem: Postman’s Park

  1. Really interesting post; many thanks. I was in the park on the same day contributing to the documentary the students were making.

    You might be interested to know that a complete and detailed history of the park and monument can be found in a beautifully illustrated book called “Postman’s Park: G. F. Watts’s Memorial to Heroic Self Sacrifice” by John Price; you can get it on Amazon or from the Watts Gallery.

    There is also a new free mobile app called “The Everyday Heroes of Postman’s Park” which you can download onto your Smartphone or tablet computer and it gives you all the details about the people commemorated and the incidents in which they died. The app can be downloaded from http://www.postmanspark.org.uk

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