Find ‘The Memorial to Heroic Self Sacrifice’ in the City of London’s Postman’s Park.
Postman’s Park is one of the few gardens you can find in the old City of London. It’s just north of St. Paul’s Cathedral. (See more free things to do in London.)
But it isn’t just a spot for to eat a Pret baguette on your lunch break.
It’s also home to the touching Memorial To Heroic Self-Sacrifice.
It contains 54 plaques, each dedicated to an ordinary person who did something most extraordinary: gave their life in an attempt to save someone else.
Devised in 1887 by artist George Frederic Watts, it was first unveiled in 1900 with just four plaques installed. Additions took place in fits and starts (Watts died and his wife took over the project, then the plaque designer quit to work on his novel, which is just typical, isn’t it?) with the 53rd tile added in 1931.
After a 78-year hiatus, another plaque was finally added in 2009, in honour of Leigh Pitt.
There are still 66 empty spaces for heroes / tragedies of the future (depending on whether you’re the glass-half-full sort.)
You might remember the park from the 2009 film Closer, where one of the characters adopts a pseudonym from one of the plaques.
A separate plaque adjacent to the memorial features a quote from George Frederic Watts: ‘The material prosperity of a nation is not an abiding possession: the deeds of its people are.’
It also quotes the Bible:
‘Greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.’ John 15:13
Location: Find Postman’s Park off St. Martin-le-Grand. Nearest station: St. Paul’s. See it on Google Maps.
Opening hours: Open 8am – dusk, or 7pm if earlier.
Entry: is free.
More information:try the City of London website.