Postman’s Park is my favourite place in London. Fact. There are three reasons for this: 1. It’s eerily serene, which is hard to find around these parts. 2. It featured in my one of my favourite play/movies, Closer, which you will have unknowingly heard of through three popular emo songs (Thnks Fr Th Mmrs, Lying Is The Most Fun A Girl Can Have Without Taking Her Clothes Off, But It’s Better If You Do) if not through its numerous award nominations. 3. It has a memorial – or wall of plaques – dedicated to heroic self-sacrifice.
The notion of heroic self-sacrifice is a humbling one. While I like to think I’d make a heroic sacrifice if the moment presented itself, up until now I’ve only managed smaller acts of kindness along the lines of giving David the seat with more leg room on a plane, and letting Colbie finish my tuna even though I was hungry.
With this in mind, observing this memorial is very calming (even if I do feel it’s a requirement to be holding a Costa coffee cup from possibly the smallest Costa in the world as I do so. Well done on a successful product placement, Jude Law.) In a city of disposable relationships and limited patience, it’s nice to know there’s a place that remembers the importance of putting other people first.
Here are a few stand-out inscriptions:
David Selves aged 12
Off Woolwich supported his drowning playfellow and sank with him clasped in his arms.
September 12, 1886
Daughter of a bricklayer’s labourer
Who by intrepid conduct saved 3 children from a burning house in Union Street Borough at the cost of her own young life
April 24, 1885
Mrs Yarman wife of George Yarman
Labourer at Bermondsey
Refusing to be deterred from making three attempts to climb a burning staircase to save her aged mother
Died of the effects
March 26, 1900
Drowned when rescuing a boy at Blackfriars
Feb 25 1887
He had saved two other lives
Do you know of anywhere similar?
On a sort of related note: Back home in Nottingham there is an independent cinema that has inscribed plaques on the back of its seats. One says ‘This is where I first held your hand.’ I love that. ❤