The gardens are located within the grounds of the National Maritime Museum, lying to the south of the main block, the former Royal Hospital School. The gardens originally stood behind the museum but were moved to make way for the Sammy Ofer Wing, which opened in July 2011. The memorial stone was relocated and the planting transferred to a nearby bed. The original gardens were officially opened on 15 April 1995, 83 years to the day since the Titanic sank.
The gardens were opened by 98-year old Titanic survivor Edith Haisman, who was fifteen years old at the time. Also present was survivor Eva Hart. Interviewed for the unveiling of the memorial, Edith Haisman recalled "Most of the men jumped overboard into the sea. Those who could swim swam and those who could not sank. There was no hope for anyone". Speaking about the garden, Edith said to reporters that it was a "beautiful" tribute to the victims of the Titanic.
Edith Haisman (Brown) was travelling with her parents Thomas and Elizabeth to Seattle, where they planned to open a hotel. They were moving from Cape Town in South Africa, were Edith was born in 1896. As a fifteen year old girl at the time of the sinking, Edith had strong recollections of the disaster in later life. A regular attendee at the annual British Titanic Society convention in Southampton, she would recall her father saying how the ship had hit an iceberg, and how he led Edith and her mother to the lifeboats. Thomas Brown died in the sinking. Edith lived to the age of 100, passing away on 20 January 1997.
The garden is planted with "Rosemary, Purple Sage, Irish Golden Yew and Peace Roses". The memorial stone at the centre of the garden is a cut stone of Cornish granite, topped with a simple brass plaque with the following inscription:
To commemorate the sinking of R.M.S. Titanic on 15th April 1912
And all those who were lost with her
15th April 1995
A sign in the memorial garden states:
The Titanic Memorial Garden
The Titanic Memorial Garden was established by the National Maritime Museum to commemorate the sinking of R.M.S. Titanic on 15 April 1912 and all those who were lost.
It was officially opened on 15 April 1995, the 83rd anniversary of the sinking, by Mrs Edith Haisman who survived the disaster when she was fifteen years old.
The garden contains traditional plants of remembrance; Rosemary, Purple Sage, Irish Golden Yew and Peace Roses. The monument is crafted from Cornish granite, traditionally used as ship's ballast, and the plaque is bronze.
The first set of five photographs show the memorial garden on the weekend of the 97th anniversary of the Titanic's maiden voyage, the second set show the memorial garden during July 2013, showing how they have matured since they were relocated within the grounds of the National Maritime Museum.
- Henderson, John R (1998) Demographics of the Titanic Passengers: Deaths, Survivals, and Lifeboat Occupancy Ithaca, NY: http://www.icyousee.org/titanic.html
- Independent, The (1995) Survivor to open 'Titanic' memorial London: The Independent Newspaper, http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/survivor-to-open-titanic-memorial-1615644.html
- New York Times, The (1997) Edith Haisman, 100, Dies; Was Oldest Survivor of Titanic New York: The New York Times, http://www.nytimes.com/1997/01/23/world/edith-haisman-100-dies-was-oldest-survivor-of-titanic.html