This obscure London memorial is filled with heart-wrenching tales of everyday heroism.

Tucked away in a small park in London is a wall of plaques dedicated to acts of everyday heroism.

In Postman's Park, nestled among Japanese musa basjoos and dove trees, is a gallery with many small tiles lining a 50-foot brick wall.

It's called the Memorial to Heroic Self-Sacrifice, and the 54 plaques each commemorate the brave acts of men, women, and children who perished trying to save others' lives.


Victorian sculptor George Frederic Watts first proposed the idea for the memorial in a letter to The Times for Queen Victoria’s Jubilee in 1887.

"The character of a nation as a people of great deeds is one, it appears to me, that should never be lost sight of," Watts wrote in his letter.

George Frederic Watts. Photo via Wikimedia Commons.

According to the Everyday Heroes of Postmans' Park, Watts combed through newspapers for decades searching for small stories about ordinary people who sacrificed their own lives to save others.

Plaques are displayed along a memorial wall in Postman's Park. Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images.

Eventually, the wall came to life in 1900 in a stunning and emotional display of selfless acts.

A general view of Postman's Park. Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images.

The memorial was designed to be as simple as possible so as not to detract from the great deeds recorded upon it.

The austere wooden gallery was designed by Sir Ernest George.

And some of the beautiful blue-and-white tile plaques were designed by famed tile designer William de Morgan.

Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images.

In his letter, Watts said he was partly inspired by the story of Alice Ayres, who saved three children's lives by pushing a feather bed out a second floor window of a home that was on fire and tossing the children to safety. Tragically, she fell during her escape and died at the hospital.

Ayres' story became the first plaque of the memorial.

The ages of those memorialized range from 8 to 61 years old.

Henry Bristow, the youngest person on wall, died saving his sister’s life from a fire in 1890.

Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images.

And each story is astonishing.

Like Mary Rogers, a stewardess who gave up her life belt to save another person when her ship, the Stella, sank.

Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images.

In 1884, Samuel Rabbeth, a doctor, willingly risked his life to try and save a child from diphtheria. Ultimately, he succumbed to the disease along with the boy.

Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images.

In total, the wall commemorates 61 lives lost during the Victorian era.

They are a humbling reminder of the risks, perils, and dangers society faces everyday and the people who bravely step up to protect others.

We need these shining examples of selflessness, heroism, and self-sacrifice to remind us of the humanity in the world.

Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images.

Watts wrote in his 1887 letter that "the material prosperity of a nation is not an abiding possession; the deeds of its people are."

After Watts death in 1904, his wife Mary continued the project until 1929 when interest in the memorial subsided.

A new plaque was installed in 2009, though, to honor Leigh Pitt, a man who drowned in 2007 while saving 9-year-old Harley Bagnall-Taylor in Gallions Lake.

It was the first plaque to be added in over 80 years.

Though society, culture, and technology has changed significantly since Watts proposed the idea for this memorial 129 years ago, the need for shining examples of everyday heroism has not.

In recent years, there has been no shortage of heroic deeds performed by the average person across the globe. We are constantly reminded through the news, our Facebook feeds, and through Twitter that people are sacrificing their lives to help others.

But where is their memorial?

Who do you know who deserves to be memorialized in a public monument for the sacrifice to save innocent lives?

More
Photo by Hunters Race on Unsplash

If you're a woman and you want to be a CEO, you should probably think about changing your name to "Jeffrey" or "Michael." Or possibly even "Michael Jeffreys" or "Jeffrey Michaels."

According to Fortune, last year, more men named Jeffrey and Michael became CEOs of America's top companies than women. A whopping total of one woman became a CEO, while two men named Jeffrey took the title, and two men named Michael moved into the C-suite as well.

The "New CEO Report" for 2018, which looks at new CEOS for the 250 largest S&P 500 companies, found that 23 people were appointed to the position of CEO. Only one of those 23 people was a woman. Michelle Gass, the new CEO of Kohl's, was the lone female on the list.

Keep Reading Show less
popular

Netflix

How much of what we do is influenced by what we see on TV? When it comes to risky behavior, Netflix isn't taking any chances.

After receiving a lot of heat, the streaming platform is finally removing a controversial scenedepicting teen suicide in season one of "13 Reasons Why. The decision comes two years after the show's release after statistics reveal an uptick in teen suicide.

"As we prepare to launch season three later this summer, we've been mindful about the ongoing debate around the show. So on the advice of medical experts, including Dr. Christine Moutier, Chief Medical Officer at the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, we've decided with creator Brian Yorkey and the producers to edit the scene in which Hannah takes her own life from season one," Netflix said in a statement, per The Hollywood Reporter.

Keep Reading Show less
Culture

At Trump's 'Social Media Summit' on Thursday, he bizarrely claimed Arnold Schwarzenegger had 'died' and he had witnessed said death. Wait, what?!


He didn't mean it literally - thank God. You can't be too sure! After all, he seemed to think that Frederick Douglass was still alive in February. More recently, he described a world in which the 1770s included airports. His laissez-faire approach to chronology is confusing, to say the least.

Keep Reading Show less
Democracy

Words matter. And they especially matter when we are talking about the safety and well-being of children.

While the #MeToo movement has shed light on sexual assault allegations that have long been swept under the rug, it has also brought to the forefront the language we use when discussing such cases. As a writer, I appreciate the importance of using varied wording, but it's vital we try to remain as accurate as possible in how we describe things.

There can be gray area in some topics, but some phrases being published by the media regarding sexual predation are not gray and need to be nixed completely—not only because they dilute the severity of the crime, but because they are simply inaccurate by definition.

One such phrase is "non-consensual sex with a minor." First of all, non-consensual sex is "rape" no matter who is involved. Second of all, most minors legally cannot consent to sex (the age of consent in the U.S. ranges by state from 16 to 18), so sex with a minor is almost always non-consensual by definition. Call it what it is—child rape or statutory rape, depending on circumstances—not "non-consensual sex."

Keep Reading Show less
Culture