Postman’s Park

Park in/near City of London, existing until now

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Park · City of London · EC1A ·

One of the largest parks in the City of London, Postman's Park is a memorial to ordinary people who died saving the lives of others and might otherwise have been forgotten,

British post box in London, UK by Ralf Roletschek/Wikimedia Commons
The park's name reflects its popularity amongst workers from the nearby GPO's headquarters after it was opened in 1880. It is located on the site of the former St Botolph's Aldersgate church.

The severe lack of burial space in London meant that graves would be frequently reused in London's burial grounds, and the difficulty of digging without disturbing existing graves led to bodies often simply being stacked on top of each other to fit the available space and covered with a layer of earth. Differing numbers of parishioners in each parish led to burial grounds being used at different rates, and by the mid 19th century, the ground level of the St Botolph's Aldersgate churchyard was 6 feet above that of the Christ Church Greyfriars burial ground, and 4 feet above that of the St Leonard, Foster Lane burial ground.

Postman's Park, built on the site of these former burial grounds, is significantly elevated above the streets which surround it.

Painter and sculptor George Frederic Watts and his second wife Mary Fraser Tytler had long been advocates of the idea of art as a force for social change. Watts had painted a series of portraits of those figures he considered to be a positive social influence, the Hall of Fame, which was donated to the National Portrait Gallery.

Watts had long considered a national monument to the bravery of ordinary people and in 1900, the park became the location for Watts's Memorial to Heroic Self Sacrifice, a memorial in the form of a loggia and long wall housing ceramic memorial tablets. At the time of its opening, only four of the planned 120 memorial tablets were in place, with a further nine tablets added during Watts's lifetime. Following Watts's death in 1904, his wife Mary Watts took over the management of the project and oversaw the installation of a further 35 memorial tablets in the following four years, as well as a small monument to Watts. However, disillusioned with the new tile manufacturer and with her time and money increasingly occupied by the running of the Watts Gallery, Mary Watts lost interest in the project and only five further tablets were added during her lifetime.

Licence: Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike Licence


British post box in London, UK by Ralf Roletschek/Wikimedia Commons
User unknown/public domain


City of London

The City of London constituted most of London from its settlement by the Romans in the 1st century AD to the Middle Ages, but the conurbation has since grown far beyond its borders.

As the City's boundaries have remained almost unchanged since the Middle Ages, it is now only a tiny part of the metropolis of Greater London, though it remains a notable part of central London. It holds city status in its own right and is also a separate ceremonial county.

It is widely referred to as 'The City' (often written on maps as City and differentiated from the phrase 'the city of London') or 'the Square Mile' as it is 1.12 square miles in area. These terms are also often used as metonyms for the United Kingdom's financial services industry, which continues a notable history of being largely based in the City.

The local authority for the City, the City of London Corporation, is unique in the UK and has some unusual responsibilities for a local council, such as being the police authority. It also has responsibilities and ownerships beyond the City's boundaries. The Corporation is headed by the Lord Mayor of the City of London, an office separate from (and much older than) the Mayor of London.

The City is a major business and financial centre, ranking as the world's leading centre of global finance. Throughout the 19th century, the City was the world's primary business centre, and continues to be a major meeting point for businesses.

The City had a resident population of about 7000 in 2011 but over 300,000 people commute to it and work there, mainly in the financial services sector. The legal profession forms a major component of the northern and western sides of the City - especially in the Temple and Chancery Lane areas where the Inns of Court are located, of which two—Inner Temple and Middle Temple - fall within the City of London boundary.
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