The Thanking Wall in History - Part 1: Postman’s Park

The Thanking Wall in History - Part 1: Postman’s Park

In the heart of Central London there is a small, green, largely unnoticed park unusually called Postman’s Park.

It is mostly used by the few debauched among the City of London’s workers that still smoke and employees who can’t bear to spend the precious moments of their lunch break staring at their desk.

“I’m glad”, you say to yourself, “that the workers of The Corporation are so well provided with lovely, if cigarette strewn, surroundings in which to sit, but what does that have to do with thanking people”?

Well let me tell you a story...

Postman’s Park was set up next to the first great Post Office in London in the late nineteenth century and was mostly used by postmen to rest after their shift. They were mostly postmen as the Royal Mail had a marriage bar in place until the First World War and women were pushed towards work as telephonists.

The park was built in the church ground of St Botolph’s Aldersgate and the gravestones that marked graves in the area now used as a park are neatly stacked in one corner.

In 1898 the artist and sculptor GF Watts was asked by the vicar of St Botolph’s to revive an idea he had tried to find backing for as part of Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee celebrations. This was The Wall of Heroic Self Sacrifice.

The idea behind the wall was a simple one: 120 ceramic tiles were to be put up on a wall covered by a loggia, each one memorialising someone that had died to save others.

They celebrate a huge range of lives saved in death.

The commemoration that touches me most deeply is to Solomon Galaman. His inscription simply reads:

Aged 11 died of injuries Sept 6, 1901, after saving his little brother from being run over in Commercial Street. “Mother I saved him but I could not save myself”.

Of the 120 tiles, 54 have been completed so far and if you are ever in the area I would recommend a look. It is beautiful, heroic and sentimental all at once.

Thank And Praise provides you with a tool to enable you to thank unsung heroes that perform daily acts of heroism in less dramatic circumstances.

Image credit: This image was originally posted to Flickr by Iridescent at

To send a note of gratitude you can either put a message up on our Facebook group or go to our website. If you would like us to set up a Thanking Wall for your organisation please either email us at or call us on +61 451 591 236.