Thursday, 4 July 2013

The Heroism of Ordinary People

Postman's Park is one of the largest parks in the City of London.

Contained within it is a hidden treasure:  a wall with tiles describing incidents where ordinary people died while trying to save others. Most of these are from the latter part of the 19th century to the first decades of the 20th century.  They relate incidents such as burning buildings, gas explosions, falls into rivers, and railway accidents.

Reading the basic facts of these personal tragedies is an oddly moving experience.  Some of these people were only children at the time, but they were still brave beyond measure. The wall of tiles remains a fitting monument to the courage of ordinary folk.

I first encountered this by chance over 20 years ago while visiting the park during a lunchtime stroll when I worked near St Paul's.  All the tiles were still there today when I visited the park before my appointment at Barts.

The park itself is very pleasant with grass, and borders and a fish pond. St Botolph Aldersgate adjoins the park as it was once its churchyard but it was locked at the time of my visit.

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