Discover the Secrets of London

With a population in excess of 7,700,000 London holds few secrets. One spot, however, which has managed to remain secluded in the face of growing urban life – the population of Greater London grew by eight per cent between 1997 and 2007 – is the Watts Memorial to Heroic Self-Sacrifice, in Postman’s Park.
Although the city boasts a number of high profile monuments and memorials, chronicling or remembering those who perished through war or tragedy or setting in stone the recognition of worthy historical events, many, such as Nelson’s Column in Trafalgar Square, pay tribute only to one person or one event.
Watts Memorial in Postman’s Park, conversely, offers visitors a spot of seclusion, serenity and sentiment in the heart of London’s busy Barbican district. Here, hidden from the bustle of nearby St Paul’s Cathedral and Canon Street, visitors will find an unassuming public park, dedicated to the lives of those lost in the heroic act of self-sacrifice.
Located near St Bartholomew’s Hospital, and between King Edward Street, Little Britain and Angel Street, Watts Memorial is situated on the convergence of graveyards from three local churches – St Botolph’s Aldersgate, Christ Church Greyfriars and St Leonard – ground that has been an ecclesiastical site for roughly 1000 years.
The idea for the Memorial was first conceived by Victorian artist and philanthropist George Fredrick Watts in 1887, during which year he wrote to the Times newspaper, suggesting a memorial project to mark the Queen’s Golden Jubilee. His concept was to create a site dedicated to the memory of civilians who had heroically given their lives in an attempt to save others.
Watts, a renowned radical who had twice turned down a Baronetcy, was outspoken of his contempt for the wealthy upper classes. His memorial, instead, would honour the hard working, living poor of urban London. He had designs on like parks throughout England, but the site in London is the only one to have been brought to life.
Watts Memorial might never have been, however, as his pleas to the Times fell on deaf ears. Undeterred, he financed the project personally and designed a 50ft outdoor gallery, decorated with plaques in tribute to the brave lives of ordinary human beings.
Were it not for the tranquillity of the park itself, sided almost totally by brick buildings, with the rear of Botolph’s to the north east corner of the park, and populated by leafy gardens, the plaques themselves would provide plenty interest. Their intricate designs typify the Art Nouveau style popular with the Victorian era. Initially to be crafted by designer William De Morgan, Watts commissioned Doulton of Lambeth to cast the final plaques.
During his lifetime, Watts positioned 13 tiles, his wife, following his death, had 34 further tablets made and posted. The plaques commemorate the deaths of young and old through fire, drowning or other misdemeanour, such as Joseph Andrew Ford and John Clinton.
Recipient of one of the park’s tablets is Alice Ayers, whose name may seem somewhat familiar. In Patrick Marber’s Closer, the character of his stripper takes her name from the park, played in Mike Nicols’ cinematic adaptation by Natalie Portman.
While the park’s title remembers its creator, its common name – Postman’s Park – is in honour of its popularity with the staff at the long since gone nearby General Post Office; workers from which too, used to enjoy a quiet lunch in the park.
The tales of those remembered in Postman’s Park are a popular draw for well-informed tourists, but remain hidden to many Londoners, oblivious to its existence. With so many flights to London bringing tourists to the capital daily, you’ll be surprised to find this tranquil spot of calm, which is a great start for further sightseeing in the city centre.
The information contained within this article is the opinion of the author and is intended purely for information and interest purposes only. It should not be used to make any decisions or take any actions. Any links are included for information purposes only.

  • Добавить ВКонтакте заметку об этой странице
  • Мой Мир
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LiveJournal
  • MySpace
  • FriendFeed
  • В закладки Google
  • Google Buzz
  • Яндекс.Закладки
  • LinkedIn
  • Reddit
  • StumbleUpon
  • Technorati
  • Digg
  • БобрДобр
  • MisterWong.RU
  • МоёМесто.ru
  • Сто закладок

Ваш отзыв , 08 Sep 2011

Ваш отзыв