These gardens, which lay within the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, overlook the Tower of London and the river Thames.
The gardens owe their existence to an Act of Parliament in 1797. Trinity House led the work and it was their Surveyor, Samuel Wyatt who designed the gardens.
Samuel Wyatt also designed Trinity House, which was completed in 1796 and overlooks the gardens.
From medieval times up until the eighteenth century Tower Hill was a place of public punishment and you will find the approximate location of the public execution site within the gardens. It is lined with plagues of those executed.
During the 14th to the 18th century members of the nobility were mainly executed on this site. Two women and a man were the last to be hanged in 1780. Most executions were beheading but hanging, often with drawing and quartering, and burning at the stake were also undertaken.
According to reports, up to 100,000 spectators would attend such executions. Members of Royalty were executed within the Tower of London.
There are three memorials in the gardens.
The World War 1 memorial commemorates 11,919 seaman who lost their lives and whose grave is the sea. By the end of the war, 3,305 merchant ships had been lost with a total of 17,000 lives. The memorial was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens and it was unveiled by Her Majesty Queen Mary on 12 December 1928.
The World War 2 memorial commemorates the high losses in the early years of the Second World War. In all, 4,786 merchant ships were lost during the war with a total of 32,000 lives.
The Second World War extension commemorates almost 24,000 casualties. It was unveiled by Queen Elizabeth II on 5 November 1955.
The Falkland’s Merchant Seafarer’s Memorial is for those of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary and Merchant Navy who lost their lives during the Falklands war. It was dedicated by the First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir Alan West GCB DSC ADC on 4 September 2005.