I was lucky when I was younger, in that my Grandfather used to take me around London’s back ways, which he had learnt having to walk between Sainsbury’s offices over about 30 years of service, and Swift’s Meat company, at Smithfields beforehand. He had worked there since the late 1940s, and had built up his knowledge of bizarre and unusual places, which he passed on to me. Well anyway, I digress, we were out one day and he had taken me to visit the point where the “Fortune of War” public house had been (famous for its use as the place for body-snatchers selling corpses to doctors), and the site of the Cock Lane ghost. On our way somewhere else in London he took me to what I am writing about today, “Postman’s Park”.
It is hidden at: St Martin’s le Grand, Aldersgate Street and King Edward Street London EC1: and you can get to it from St Pauls Tube station. It is an amazing place and it tells so many stories of ordinary people gallantry in London and surprisingly it is still in use today, with a plaque not so long ago installed to mark the gallantry of yet another unknown soul. I urge you if you’re out and about in London near this place to take a look. It is a hidden gem for social historians and for those who know of London’s indomitable spirit.
The most recent incumbent is Mr Leigh Pitt: a Reprographic Operator; Aged 30 saved a drowning boy from the Canal at Thamesmead. He was sadly however unable to save himself, and died in his gallant act. June 7th 2007.
Other people noted there on the beautiful ceramic tile “monuments” are:
Elizabeth Boxall, aged17, From Bethnal Green, died of injuries received trying to save a child from a runaway horse in June 1888.
David Selves aged 12, “supported his drowning playfellow and sank with him clasped in his arms”: September 12th 1885.
I won’t post any more as it would defeat the point of going to visit the park, which stands as a silent, and everlasting testimony to the gallantry of ordinary Londoners.