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Postman's Park

Postman's Park

Pretty and unusual space hidden away from the hustle and bustle of the City and housing the famous Watts memorial which was built in 1900. ​

Visitor information

Postman's Park, St Martin's Le-Grand, London EC1A

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Entrances via St Martin's Le-Grand / Aldersgate Street and King Edward Street

By tube

Central
St Paul’s

By bus

4, 8, 25, 56, 141, 100, 172, 521, 242

Opening hours

7 days a week throughout the year 8am – 7pm or dusk – whichever is earlier


Hear the garden's history come alive

Listen to City Gardener Nicholas Martin as he takes you on an audiotour of this garden with its many layers of history, some very recent as well as much hidden in the past, with a Hollywood twist at the end. This is one a several audiotours that bring alive the City Gardens in London's Square Mile.

History

This scenic park acquired its name due to its popularity as a lunchtime garden with workers from the nearby old General Post Office. It is home to the famous Watts memorial, built in 1900 by Victorian painter and philanthropist GF Watts (1817-1904).

Watts was a radical socialist with strong sympathies towards the dreadful living conditions of the urban poor, and in 1887, wrote to the Times proposing that a park commemorating 'heroic men and women' who had given their lives attempting to save others would be a worthy way to mark Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee year. This eventually took the form of the Watts gallery in Postman's Park.

Along the walls of the gallery, Watts placed glazed Doulton tablets commemorating acts of bravery, each one detailing the nature of the heroic act. The tragic tales documented on the tiles are touching, often involving children and usually concerning fire, drowning or train accidents.

The garden also features an attractive sundial surrounded by bright flower beds and a gently trickling fountain. Plants of particular interest are the large banana, musa basjoo, which flowers in late summer, and the dove tree, davidia involucrata.

Postman's Park came to increased public notice in 2004 with the release of the BAFTA- and Golden Globe-winning film Closer, which stars Natalie Portman, Julia Roberts, Jude Law and Clive Owen, and is based on the 1997 play Closer by Patrick Marber. A key plot element in the film revolves around Postman's Park, in which it is revealed that the character Alice Ayres (played by Portman in the film) has in fact fabricated her identity based on Ayres' tablet on the Memorial to Heroic Self Sacrifice, which she had read at the time of her first meeting with Dan Woolf (Jude Law) at the start of the film.

Biodiversity

​The park contains a variety of important habitats for wildlife, including a pond, shrub borders, and log piles built by a local school, the Lyceum, to create dead wood habitat for wildlife including Stag Beetle Larvae.  The Garden is also home to the 'Brookfield Bug Buddies' insect hotel. This was a finalist in the 'Beyond the Hive' architectural competition to build an environmentally sustainable home for urban invertebrates.

Published:
10 May 2012
Last Modified:
07 November 2014

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