The plaque in Postman's Park which remembers the heroic act of self-sacrifice by Mrs Yarman, should, in fact, be dedicated to the memory of Mrs. Mary Jarman (1847 - 1900).
Quite why her surname is misspelt is unknown, since all the newspaper accounts of the tragedy give her surname as Jarman, not Yarman.
The plaque itself reads, "Mrs Yarman, Wife of George Yarman, Labourer At Bermondsey, Refused To Be Deterred From Making Three Attempts To Climb A Burning Staircase To Save Her Aged Mother. Died Of The Effects. March 26 1900."
However, the newspaper accounts that covered the story, and from which the information inscribed on the plaque was gathered, were mistaken in her relationship to the woman she tried to save, in that she was her mother-in-law, not her mother.
A report on the fire that cost Mary Jarman her life appeared in The Globe on Friday 23rd March 1900:-
"Soon after two o'clock this morning Mr. G. Jarman, who occupied a house at 34, Druid-street, Abbey-street, Bermondsey, awoke to find the lower part of the premises in flames.
After arousing his wife he rushed downstairs to find a means of escape, but was driven back by the heat and smoke.
In the meantime, Mrs. Jarman had hurried into the front bedroom on the first floor to awaken her mother, Mrs. Elizabeth Eyre.
This apartment was also well alight, the bed on which the woman wee sleeping being on fire.
Notwithstanding this Mrs. Jarman endeavoured to remove her mother, but had to give up the task, receiving in the attempt very serious burns on her head, face, and arms.
Eventually the husband was compelled to lower his wife from a back room window on the first floor to the people waiting below, and immediately afterwards jumped to the ground himself, his fall being broken bye heap of mats, &c., which had been hastily collected.
The outbreak was soon subdued by the firemen, but the house, which consisted only of four rooms, was burned out.
The charred remains of Mrs. Eyre, who was 77 years of age, were placed in a shell and conveyed to the mortuary at the Bermondsey Hospital, and Mrs. Jarman was removed to Guy's Hospital."
Sadly, Mary Jarman's extensive injuries proved fatal, and she died on the afternoon of Sunday 25th March 1900.
The Pall Mall Gazette contained a brief announcement of her death in its next day's edition:-
"Mary Jarman, aged forty-five, who was badly burned at a fire in Druid-street, Abbey-street, Bermondsey, on Friday last, while trying to rescue her mother, Mrs. Elizabeth Eyre, died in Guy's Hospital yesterday afternoon."
The inquest into the deaths of Mrs Eyre and Mrs Jarman was held at Guy's Hospital on Thursday 29th March 1900, with Mr. Samuel Langham, the district Coroner, presiding.
The Lancashire Evening Post published the following brief article about the proceedings on Friday 30th March 1900:-
"At Guy's Hospital, London, yesterday, an inquest was held respecting the death of Mary Jarman, who was fatally burned in her efforts to save her aged mother at a fire last Friday at their house in Bermondsey.
Despite her heroic attempts her mother was killed, being found dead in the ruins.
The daughter went back twice to try and rescue her mother, and finally had to be got out by the police.
A Juror: "Her efforts deserved a better reward." - "Hear, hear."
The jury returned a verdict of Accidental death."