The Fairview Lawn Cemetery holds the graves of 121 victims of the Titanic. The graves are arranged in four lines on a sloping hillside within the cemetery, to a scheme commissioned by the White Star Line from surveyor F W Christie. The majority of headstones are small black-granite grave markers. The bevelled top of each headstone is engraved in sans-serif capital letters with the inscription 'Died April 15, 1912' and the number assigned to the victim when their body was recovered from the sea.

The first 37 graves are on a linear alignment, with a second short line of just five graves behind. The third and fourth of graves rows form a gentle curve along the natural contours of the hillside, likened to the prow of a ship. Annual upkeep of all the Titanic graves was paid for by the White Star Line until 1930, whereupon a trust fund was established for the perpetual care of the graves. The Halifax Titanic Graves Trust Fund at the Halifax Regional Municipality accepts donations for the upkeep of the graves the Titanic graves.

The Fairview Lawn Cemetery is one of six cemeteries maintained by the Halifax Regional Municipality. It was established as a non-denominational cemetery in 1893 and was originally known as the Green Lawn Cemetery, assuming its current name in 1894. The Cemetery was transferred to the City of Halifax in January 1944.

The Titanic victims buried at Fairview Lawn represent a cross-section of those aboard the Titanic from first class passenger William Henry Harrison (secretary to Joseph Bruce Ismay, chairman of the White Star Line), to third-class Swedish emigrant Alma Pålsson, traveling with her four children.

The most poignant of graves at Fairview Lawn is that of the 'Unknown Child', who after DNA-testing was finally identified in 2007 as 19-month-old Sidney Leslie Goodwin. Sidney died along with his five older brothers and sisters, and his parents.

Frederick and Augusta Goodwin and their children, Lilian, Charles, William, Jessie, Harold and Sidney were travelling to New York and on to Niagara Falls, where Mr Goodwin's brother had settled. The family had intended to depart earlier aboard the liner New York, but she was held up by a coal strike at Southampton so the Goodwin family transferred to the Titanic. The ensuing disaster claimed their lives.

The headstones were paid for by the White Star Line, owners of the Titanic. Additional inscriptions were applied where a victim was identified, and paid for by families and friends. Where subsequent research has allowed other victims to be identified, the graves have been inscribed with the victim's name. These were added either to the top or front of the headstone. The larger, more decorative graves at Fairview Lawn were commissioned specifically by the victims families, friends or other groups.

More information

  • Eaton, J. P. & Haas, C. A. (1994) Titanic: Triumph and Tragedy (2nd edition) Yeovil: Patrick Stephens Ltd.
  • Hind, Philip et al (2013) Master Sidney Leslie Goodwin Oxford: Encyclopedia Titanica,
  • New York Times, The (1912) Titanic dead to be buried in Halifax New York: The New York Times, 2 May 1912, p 3.
  • Province of Nova Scotia, The (1912) Titanic: A Significant Part of Nova Scotia's Unique Maritime Heritage Halifax: Province of Nova Scotia
  • Province of Nova Scotia, The (1912) Titanic Cemeteries in Halifax Halifax: Province of Nova Scotia