I've been exploring London's parks recently as part of my settling back into the capital, but also in preparation for the course in Garden History I'm starting in September. One of the most touching is the little square called "Postman's Park", which is tucked in between King Edward Street, Little Britain and Angel Street, near St Bartholomew's Hospital, to the north of St Paul's Cathedral.
If you've seen the film Closer you may remember a scene at the beginning when Natalie Portman and Jude Law visit a wall commemorating ordinary people who lost their lives trying to save others. Well, it's in this park. It was the idea of the painter G F Watts (1817-1904), and the hand-lettered tiles were made by Doulton. Apparently Watts disliked the upper classes, and wanted to celebrate people who would perhaps otherwise have been forgotten.
I want to try and find out more about the memorial because I'm interested in why it stopped. It feels as if there are still spaces that were waiting to be filled, but maybe it was always intended as a one-off and the gaps are symbolic?
But most of all you wonder about the stories given in every plaque, particularly when you see the wall of anonymous gravestones piled up right next to the plaques. Who most of these people were, we will never now know.