This marble memorial has stood in Belfast for 100 years. Along with its surrounding memorial garden, it commemorates the lives lost when the Titanic sank in 1912.
Belfast, the birthplace of the Titanic, proposed to build a monument to the memory of the Titanic victims on 3rd May 1912, just over two weeks after the ship sank. The English sculptor Thomas Brock was chosen to design it, but work had to stop when World War I broke out in 1914. It wasn’t finished until 1920, when it was unveiled by Field Marshal Viscount French, the last Lord Lieutenant of Ireland.
The memorial is 22 feet high and made up of four marble figures: a standing woman, thought to represent either Fame or a female version of the Greek personification of death, and two mermaids at her feet lifting a dead sailor up from the sea. The inscription on the plinth dedicates it to 22 local men who lost their lives on the ship, and their names are written on the side, including that of Thomas Andrews, the managing director of Harland and Wolff.
It was originally in the middle of the road on Donegall Square North; however, after a number of traffic collisions, the city council decided to move the memorial to the grounds of the City Hall in 1959. Every year a service is held there on 15th April to commemorate the Northern Irish victims of the ship’s sinking. To mark the centenary of the Titanic in 2012, a memorial garden was created around the sculpture and includes the world’s first monument to list the names of all those who died in the disaster, as well as flowers to evoke the colours of water and ice: forget-me-not, magnolia and rosemary.