I accidentally walked onto the set of a movie at the weekend. Whilst hopping from shelter-to-shelter to dodge the rain drops, I hopped right into a tranquil little park. In my surprise I stopped and gawped for several minutes. The sound of the rain sploshing into the pond reminded me that I had been trying to stay dry (too late) and I headed off towards a familiar undercover memorial. A series of hand-painted ceramic tiles tell mini stories of tragedy which collectively form the Watt’s Memorial of Heroic Self Sacrifice.
Stewardess of the Stella
Mar 30 1899
Self sacrificed by giving up her life belt and voluntarily going down in the sinking ship
Aged 17 of Bethnal Green
Who died of injuries received in trying to save a child from a runaway horse
June 20 1888
Daughter of a bricklayer’s labourer
Who by intrepid conduct saved 3 children from a burning house in Union Street Borough at the cost of her own young life
April 24 1885
It was Alice’s tile that let me put my finger on where I’d seen the memorial before; it was used as the backdrop for an opening scene in the movie Closer. Nathalie Portman’s character, Jane, adopted the name ‘Alice’ as her pseudonym after reading the story about the burning house. When I realised, I let out a squeal and then had to explain myself to the people nearby (one of whom was nearly as excited as I was!) Movie references aside, the memorial is a really inspiring place to spend half an hour and recharge. I’ll be popping along soon for my blueberry muffin brunch break!
P.S. The coat that Nathalie Portman is wearing in that photo is spot on trend!