Eva Miriam Hart was born on Tuesday January the 31st, 1905 in Ilford, Essex, England. Eva’s birth register entry is:
BIRTHS: JFM 1905
HART Eva Miriam, Romford 4a 603
Her mothers name was Emily Esther Louisa, known as Esther, and her father was called Benjamin.
Emily Esther Louisa Hart was born Emily Esther Louisa Bloomfield on Wednesday the 13th May 1863 to Esther Bloomfield, nee Hayes and Henry Bloomfield.
Her birth register entry is:
BIRTHS: AMJ 1863
BLOOMFIELD Emily Louisa, Wandsworth 1d 443
The census return of 1871 shows Emily Esther as 7 years old, it shows two siblings: Mia C Bloomfield 3 and Wm (sic) Henry Bloomfield 4 months.
Her father, Henry, is shown as being 27, his profession, gardener.
Emily Esther’s mother is shown as being 30, and as being "gardeners’ wife."
The address is shown as Stockwell Grove, Stockwell, Lambeth.
In the census return for 1881 a further four siblings are shown for Emily Esther, namely: Alice Bloomfield 13, Minnie Bloomfield 7, Elizabeth Bloomfield 3 and Henry Bloomfield 1 month.
The address was still Stockwell Grove.
In 1881 Emily Esther was, according to the census, working as a housemaid in Lambeth for a family by the name of Simpson.
In 1881, Emily Esther Louisa Bloomfield married George Hasock A Brooke, in Lambeth, London. The marriage is registered in the October, November, December (OND) quarter of 1881.
I understand that during the marriage, Emily Esther gave birth to nine children all of whom died within months. Apparently their deaths were a combination of abuse by Emily Esther’s husband, George, and her rare blood type.
By 1890 George was dead, aged 36.
Her second husband, as you can see, was to be Benjamin Hart, an altogether different man and one who was both loved and loving.
Please note that in the 1901 census, Emily Esther was reffered to as Esther. From now on, unless I am quoting official documents, I will refer to Emily Esther as Esther only. As it is obviously the name she became to be known by.
Many sources show Benjamin Hart as being born on Sunday 25th December 1864, however, according to the 1901 census, Benjamin was 32. Further research shows his birth year to have been 1869, in line with the 1901 census return.
His birth register entry is as follows;
BIRTHS: JFM 1869
HART Benjamin, Hull, 9d, 219
As can be seen Ben was registered in the January, February, March Quarter of 1869. I suspect that the birth day of December the 25th, stated in many accounts, may also be incorrect as census returns show Ben as being born in 1869. If that is the case, then he could not have been born in December of that year as he was clearly already alive in the January, February, March quarter, at least nine months earlier. To muddy things even more, Ben could of course have been born on 25th December 1868, his birth then being registered in the JFM quarter on 1869.
I will endeavour, if I can, to clear the matter up once and for all.
Benjamin Hart was the son of Solomon Hart, registered in the 1881 census as a merchant seaman. In the 1891 census he is shown as a master builder. Solomon was born in Poland, then part of Russia, in about 1839.
His mothers name was Rhoda, born about 1837.
Ben had three siblings showing in the 1881 census, namely: Hannah Hart 16, Joshua Hart 14 and Phineas Hart 9.
The 1891 census shows a further sibling: Rubin Hart 16.
By 1901 Benjamin had become a carpenter and builder, a trade he apparently was very good at.
In 1900 Benjamin Married Esther (Emily Esther) at West Ham in Essex.
Eva was an only child who by all accounts was well loved. My impression of her as an elderly lady was that of a strong minded woman who knew what she liked and could make herself heard.
From hearing Eva being interviewed and having read quotes from her mother, Esther, I do get the strong impression that Eva was brought up within a spiritual and strongly religious home.
When Eva was only seven when her parents decided to leave England for Winnipeg, Canada. They intended to start a new life, as Benjamin’s work was, apparently, not going as well as hoped and he was going to work in the building trade using the skills he had acquired.
They travelled down to Southampton on the boat train here’s something Eva had to say in later years:
"We went on the day, on the boat train. I was 7, I had never seen a ship before, it looked very big, everybody was very excited, we went down to the cabin and that’s when my mother said to my father that she had made up her mind quite firmly that she would not go to bed in that ship, she would sit up at night. She decided that she wouldn’t go to bed at night, and she didn’t"
It is funny to think that Eva had not seen a ship before but when she did, it was the biggest in the world at that time.
So, on the 10th of April, 1912 the Hart family set off as second class passengers on the Titanic from Southampton. Benjamin Hart would never reach his destination.
The following is what Eva had to say about the families’ cabin:
"As it was a four berth cabin, we only had three of the tiered bunks lowered and this made it much easier for moving around. We had ample cupboards for all our clothes and the cabin had its own wash hand basin and a dressing table as well as a couple of comfortable chairs. My bunk was beneath the one used by my father, and much of the time it was occupied by my doll and teddy bear which I had taken to keep me company"
Eva spent her time like other children, playing. She had quickly found a friend, six year old Nina Harper, daughter of Baptist minister, Rev. John Harper, who was also on board. The two of them ran about the decks accompanied by Eva’s teddy.
Another thing she enjoyed doing was paying a visit to the dog kennels on ‘F’ deck where she befriended a mild mannered "scrunch faced" bull dog. On finding out about his beloved daughter’s attachment to this dog, her father, Ben, promised to get her one when they had become settled in their new home, a promise never to be fulfilled.
She also went for walks, exploring the ship with her father while Esther slept in the cabin, paying a visit to the barbers’ shop, where her father brought her toys which Eva placed on her bed. I wonder, did they float out when the ship went down?
Watching interviews with Eva, I always felt that she was a little disturbed by her mothers behaviour at the time, but, on reflection could see it was vindicated. Esther was so worried about being on board the Titanic, so untrusting of its fate, that, as stated by Eva, she chose to remain awake during the night and sleep during the day. Eva maintained that her mother felt it "flying in the face of God" on hearing that the ship had been declared by some, although not the builders or owners, to be unsinkable.
Also, it seems from contemporary accounts, that Esther was uneasy about leaving her aging parents and over taking her young daughter away to a strange new country.
On the night before Titanic struck the iceberg, Saturday the 14th of April, Eva was asleep and so was her father. Her mother, Esther, however claimed to have been possibly dozing but was awakened by what she described in one account as if a "gigantic force had given the ship a mighty push behind". She says she heard the swirling of water and after three times of feeling "push" and hearing "swirl" she awoke Ben.
Ben was not happy, but went up on deck to check everything was alright and reported back that the ship was underway and that he could see no problems. The next morning at breakfast he made a joke of it with the others on their table. Esther however still felt uneasy and no-one could explain what she had felt and heard. She claimed that she felt it was a "warning from God".
The Sunday dawned like the other days but it had grown colder. On that day of fate for the great ship, Eva spent some time with her father running and playing on what Esther called the ‘hurricane deck’. It seems that Ben was not one to be bothered by the weather, hot or cold.
By 10pm the Hart family were in their cabin, apart from Esther, who sat up, Ben and little Eva, were asleep.
Esther sat on her trunk, head resting on her bunk when she says "….there came the most awful sound I have ever heard in my life, a dreadful tearing and ripping sound…". Esther awoke Ben, calling him "daddy", telling him that they had hit something and that she felt it was serious. Ben was, once again, not very happy at being woken up and apparently said to his wife "Oh woman, again! I really don’t know what I shall do with you?"
But Esther insisted that he go up on deck and make sure all was well. He did, and in a little while he returned with the news that people were being put in life boats, saying he thought it was a "drill". After a little more persuasion from Esther that something was surely wrong and all were soon dressed, including the still sleeping Eva.
A stewardess came along and spoke to the Harts saying that she would find out what was happening. When she returned she told the family that nothing was wrong. Esther insisted there was and that it was serious. She felt Ben had acknowledged the danger they were all in when, on reaching ‘B’ deck he turned away from his family and said his "Jewish prayers".
By now it appears that little Eva was awake too and the family rushed from boat to boat but all were "full". At the fifth boat they went to some space was found and Eva was "thrown in" with her mother getting in after her. Eva hurt herself on her side when she was "thrown" into the boat and her mother says she was vomiting afterwards.
The following is quoted from the Ilford Graphic of Friday May the 10th 1912:
Just then, a man who had previously tried to get in, succeeded in doing so, but was ordered out, and the officer fired his revolver into the air to let everyone see it was loaded, and shouted out, "Stand back! I say, stand back! The next man who puts his foot in this boat, I will shoot him down like a dog." Ben, who had been doing what he could to help the women and children, said quietly, "I’m not going in, but for God’s sake look after my wife and child." And little Eva called out to the officer with the revolver "Don’t shoot my daddy, you shan’t shoot my daddy." What an experience for a little child to go through! At the age of seven to have passed through the valley of the shadow of death. I wonder if she will ever forget it? I know I shan’t, if I live for a hundred years.
Eva never saw her father again, he had kissed her and said farewell to her and her mother and stepped back to await his fate.
The boat that Eva and her mother had entered is unclear to me as yet, due to them having to change to another boat while on the water because of orders from the Fifth officer, Harold Godfrey Lowe, being by that time in charge of a number of corralled life boats. He wished to return to the wreck site to look for survivors and so cleared his boat by transferring its passengers. But it does seem that Eva and Esther Hart arrived at the rescue ship Carpathia via lifeboat number 14. Can you imagine the fear of a seven year old girl having to change boats in those circumstances?
Eva had this to say about being in the lifeboat:
"The worst thing really during the night was the lifeboat that I was in which was number 14, was so hopelessly over crowded that in the middle of the night they started taking people out of it and putting them in other boats. I got separated from my mother, when the dawn came up and we were being picked up by the Carpathia I wasn’t in the same lifeboat as her, I spent the rest of the night screaming for her, and I found her on the Carpathia"
On arrival in New York were, to their eternal gratitude, well looked after by the "Women’s relief committee of New York" providing Eva and her mother with clothing and footwear among, apparently, other items of varied nature.
A member of the relief committee, a Mrs. Satterlee, again to the total gratitude of Esther Hart, drove Eva and her mother to a hotel, where they stayed until their return to England via the Celtic along with five other female survivors of the Titanic disaster. Before the journey back to what they had thought was their old home, little Eva received a letter from some children who lived in New Jersey. Enclosed with the letter was a dollar bill. They encountered more kindness on the Celtic, where,
"A lady in the first saloon sent out word that whatever we wanted in the way of fruit or any other delicacies not included in our menu, we were to have."
I am sure that most who read this will be aware that much of what occurred that night has been and still is argued over continuously. But, whatever did happen, I think it safe to say that it left huge mental scars on Eva Miriam for the rest of her life. I recall her saying in one interview, for example, that she will never forget the sounds from the people perishing in the freezing water of the Atlantic ocean that night, it was obvious to me that she felt the pain still of that awful night.
When Eva and Esther Hart arrived back in England they lived on a sum of £205 13s 3d, left by Ben in his will and they received £1 1s for Esther and 3s 6d for Eva, per week, both sums provided from the Titanic disaster fund, a small amount of which went towards Eva’s education. (The photo' below shows Whalebone Grove, where Eva and her mother lived after returning to England.)
Eva was said to have an excellent soprano voice and received vocal training and piano lessons from her mother income.
It is the measure of the young woman Eva had become that at the tender age of sixteen she had opened her own music school.
Sadly, Eva’s mother Esther died in September 1928, aged 65.
Eva was to become a very prominent person in local politics, joining the Conservative party and eventually becoming Conservative party chairman for the area in which she lived.
The Second World War saw Eva playing a major part in the war effort. She entertained troops, helped dispense emergency food and shelter coupons for those who had lost everything due to the bombing and, among other things, she found time to found the Women’s Junior Air Corps.
In 1956, at the age of fifty one, she was sworn in as a Justice of the Peace (JP), which is the volunteer arm of the justice service, dealing with such matters as burglary, shoplifting and even marriage separations. This led to Eva becoming a member of the Parole Board which oversees requests for prisoner release.
Her incredible list of voluntary works eventually saw her services to the public being recognized in 1974 when Eva received the MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire) a very high honour.
Eva took part in various Titanic documentaries including Titanic (A&E documentary) 1994 and Titanic: Secrets revealed 1998.
I recall watching one such documentary where Eva claimed most unequivocally that the Titanic spilt in two on the surface, she says she saw it happen. The wrecks discovery and exploration proved her right.
In 1994 she had an auto-biography published:
Shadow of the Titanic: A survivor's story: biography of Miss Eva Hart, MBE, JP ISBN 1874529280 Published by the Greenwich University Press. Sadly it is currently out of print.
When the Titanic wreck was discovered, although Eva was amazed at the discovery, she had very strong views about what should happen to the ship, its contents and the memories of those who sailed and perished on her. The following quote speaks for itself "I feel that it's my father's grave, and the grave of 1,500 people,"
She must have been a popular person where she lived as she even has a pub named after her the Eva Hart, 1128, High St, Chadwell Heath, Romford, Essex, RM6 4AH
Eva Miriam Hart died of cancer on Wednesday February the 14th 1996; she lived at number 2a Japan Road, Chadwell Heath, Essex, England. She never married.
Her death record is below.
Name: Eva Miriam Hart M.B.E.
Birth Date: 31 Jan 1905
Death Registration Month/Year: Feb 1996
Age at death (estimated): 91
Registration district: Havering
Inferred County: Essex
Register number: HC78
Entry Number: 226
Below are copies of some of the already referred to official records and some others that I hope you will find interesting. I am indebted to a relative of Eva’s for a great deal of the information I have used and hope that they are happy with what I have done. I will be more than happy to make corrections where required.
Emily Esther Louisa Bloomfield was born in 1863 in London
BIRTHS AMJ 1863
BLOOMFIELD Emily Louisa, Wandsworth 1d 443
6 E. Side Grove, Stockwell, Lambeth
Henry Bloomfield Head married 27 Gardener b St Leonards, Gloucester
Esther Bloomfield wife married 30 Gardeners wife b Crawley, surrey
*Emily Esther Bloomfield, daughter, 7 Scholar b Stockwell, Surrey
Mia C Bloomfield daughter 3 scholar b Stockwell Surrey
Wm Henry Bloomfield son 4m b Stockwell Surrey
Emily Hayes SIL unmarried 15 domestic servant b Slinfold, surrey
1881 6 Stockwell Grove, Stockwell, Lambeth
Henry BLOOMFIELD head mar 37 Gardener, Glocester
Esther BLOOMFIELD wife mar 40 b Horswell, surrey
Alice BLOOMFIELD daughter 13 scholar b Stockwell, surrey
Minnie BLOOMFIELD daughter 7 scholar b Stockwell, surrey
Elizabeth BLOOMFIELD daughter 3 b Stockwell, surrey
Henry BLOOMFIELD son 1 month b Stockwell, surrey
Eliza Hayes Mother in law Widowed 52 b surrey
Henry Hayes nephew 1 b Stockwell, surrey
Marriage Name: Emily Esther L Bloomfield
Year of Registration: 1881
Quarter of Registration: Oct-Nov-Dec
County: United Kingdom
Name: George Hosack A Brook
Year of Registration: 1881
Quarter of Registration: Oct-Nov-Dec
County: United Kingdom
Death entry for George
Name: George Hosack A Brooke
Estimated Birth Year: abt 1854
Year of Registration: 1890
Quarter of Registration: Jan-Feb-Mar
Age at Death: 36
County: United Kingdom
1 Southwest Street, Stockwell, Lambeth
Henry BLOOMFIELD head 47 jobbing gardener b Upton St. Leonards, Gloucs
Esther BLOOMFIELD wife 50 b Crawley, Surrey
Minnie BLOOMFIELD daughter 17 b Stockwell, London
ELizabeth BLOOMFIELD daughter 13 b Stockwell
Harry BLOOMFIELD son 10 b Stockwell
In 1900 she married Benjamin Hart in Essex
Name: Esther Louisa Brooke
Year of Registration: 1900
Quarter of Registration: Jul-Aug-Sep
District: West Ham
Name: Benjamin Hart
Year of Registration: 1900
Quarter of Registration: Jul-Aug-Sep
District: West Ham
Henry Bloomfield b 1844 in Gloucester - painter & Decorator
Esther "" b 1841 in Surrey
Minnie "" b 1874 in surrey
Harvey "" b 1881 in Surrey - painter & decorator
Benjamin Hart b 1869 in Hull, Yorkshire Carpenter and Builder
Esther Hart b 1864 in Surrey (Depham)
1881 Sutton, Yorkshire
Solomon HART head married, seaman at sea (merchant service) b Poland, Russia
Rhoda HART Wife married, 44,
Hannah HART daughter s 16 domestic servant b Hull, Yorkshire
Joshua HART son s 14 b Hull, Yorkshire
Benjamin HART son s 12 b Hull, Yorkshire
Phineas HART son 9 b Hull, Yorkshire
21 Fifth Avenue, Little Ilford, Essex.
Soloman HART head married 52 master builder, b Poland
Joshua HART, son, single 24 carpenter b Hull, Yorkshire
Benjamin HART, son, single, 22 Carpenter, Hull Yorkshire
RUbin HART, son single 16 - Manor Park Grove
BIRTHS JFM 1869
Benjamin Hart - Hull 9d 219
Deaths JAS 1928
HART, Emily E.L age 65 Romford 4a 347
Graham Fox, October 31st 2006.
Having recently acquired a copy of Eva Hart’s biography I have decided I would like to add the following extra information to what I have already written. You will note in respect of the night before the accident that the cause for alarm Eva’s mother felt seems not to have been so simply explained and although I took the details from an interview her mother gave what is written in Eva’s book does vary somewhat from that interview.
On the night before the sinking this is what Eva Hart told her biographer occurred:
On the Saturday night she had stayed up as usual and heard an odd sound which she did not associate with the normal life of the ship to which she had become accustomed. Because of this she roused my father and persuaded him to go on deck to find out what it was. When he came back he was rather annoyed and said, "Oh, don’t ask me to do that again. I felt so foolish when I bumped into one of the officers and he wanted to know what I was doing up there. All I could say was that my wife had heard something odd. So don’t make me feel such a fool again."
Despite this rebuke she insisted upon being told what had caused the noise she had heard. Very reluctantly, he told her it was pack ice and that she had heard the ice against the side of the ship as it went through the ice field. At the same time he said, "We’re going at a devil of a rate!"
This particular incident took place nearly 24 hours before the ship foundered. Although official reports of the maiden voyage of the ‘Titanic’ do not refer to the ship passing through an ice field on the Saturday night, my mother always insisted that was the explanation for the noise she had heard on the side of the ship. I certainly remember that the following morning when we were at breakfast together we noticed that the temperature was much colder than it had been. And during the meal, several people came over to our table and asked my mother if she had heard the noise during the night. When she said she had, one of the male passengers confirmed that it had been ice. This did nothing to calm her apprehension at being on the ship. No doubt she would have been even more worried if she had known that the normal boat drill had been dispensed with on the ‘Titanic’.
In the main part of what I previously wrote I made brief mention of Eva’s life after the Titanic disaster that, I really feel warrants expansion.
I told of her singing, only to find out that she was in fact a very accomplished singer who sang all over the country as a professional. She also sang to entertain service men and women during World War Two.
I was also pleasantly surprised to find that shortly after her mother death in 1928 Eva decided to move to Australia, where she had relatives going via Singapore. Eva had felt the need to change her life.
So, later that year, she set of via ship, having to suppress her fears of sailing that had had since the disaster of 1912.
Because of the route taken Eva saw many places on her way to Singapore. On her arrival she was met by her mothers godson, Fred, who she called her "elder brother" because she had become "very fond of him" over the years. Whilst in Singapore she took in lots of sites of beauty and interest.
However, after several weeks it was time to move on once again, this time the journey would take her to what was meant to be her new home, Sydney, Australia, where she was going to stay with her father’s brother, Eva’s uncle, Joshua Hart.
The only way she could travel was via a cargo vessel that had a small amount of fare paying passenger accommodation. It stopped at a great many places on the way, often for days at a time, this enabled Eva to carry out a lot of sight seeing.
When she finally arrived and had settled in Sydney she became involved, once again, in professional singing, touring all over Australia.
But, despite having a wonderful time Eva decided that Australia was not for her and she realized she missed her old home in England dreadfully. And so it was that she returned to England in 1931.
Another fact that I had not included previously but again feel it must be mentioned is that Eva Miriam Hart became a welfare officer with the ‘Sterling Engineering Company’ in Dagenham, Essex. She held the post for many years and makes it very clear that she loved her work with a passion. She felt she was able to help people with all kinds of problems, sometimes drawing on her experiences obtained because of the Titanic disaster. It seems she heard and helped out with, many things, from marriage troubles of employees to housing issues, in fact it appears Eva became involved in a great many issues during her career as a welfare officer.
I thought it was lovely to find out too, that despite being made redundant at the age of sixty-three, after twenty-five years loyal service, Eva decided to become self employed as a "Private consultant welfare officer." She carried on in this role until apparently things were changed by the government of the day and her type of work was taken over by the Ministry of Health in 1976.
I hope you found this little bit of extra information interesting and that it gives you a greater idea of Eva Miriam Hart in particular.
Graham Fox 8th February 2007.
The above information was taken from ‘Shadow of the Titanic,’ biography of Miss Eva Hart M.B.E., J.P as told to Ronald C. Denney.
1995 edition published by ‘Greenwich University Press.
ISBN 1 874529 28 0 hb
ISBN 1 874529 29 9 pb
1. William Bloomfield born 1806 in Romford Essex, died 1876 West Ham, Essex
+. Mary // born 1811 in Surrey died 1887 in West Ham, Essex
2. George Bloomfield born 1837 in Surrey
2. Charles Bloomfield born 1839 in Surrey
2. Mary Ann Bloomfield born 1842 in Gloucestershire
2. Henry Bloomfield born 1844 in Gloucestershire
+. Esther HAYES born 1841 in Surrey
3. Emily Esther Louisa Bloomfield born 1864 in Surrey
+.(1881) George Hosack A Brooker born 1854 died 1890
+.(1900) Benjamin Hart born 1869 died 15 April 1912
4. Eva Miriam Hart b 31 January 1905 d 14 February 1996
3. Alice Charlotte Bloomfield born 1867 in Surrey
3. William Henry Bloomfield born 1870 in Surrey
3. Minnie Bloomfield born 1874 in Surrey
3. Elizabeth Bloomfield born 1878 in Surrey
3. Henry Bloomfield born 1881 in Surrey
2. Jane E Bloomfield born 1848 in Surrey
2. Elizabeth Bloomfield born 1850 in Surrey
2. John Bloomfield born 1853 in Surrey
1. Solomon Hart born 1840 in Poland died 1910 Romford, Essex
+ Rhoda // born 1838 in Poland died 1906 in Hull, Yorkshire
2. Hannah Hart b 1865 in Hull Yorkshire
2. Joshua Hart b 1867 in Hull Yorkshire
+ (1895) Francis Maud Lawrence b 1873 London, England
3. Lionel Hart b 1896 Plumstead, Kent
2. Benjamin Hart b 1869 in Hull Yorkshire
+ (1900) Esther Bloomfield
3. Eva Miriam Hart b 31 Jan 1905
2. Phineas Hart b 1872 in Hull Yorkshire
2. Rubin Hart b 1890 in Manor Park, Essex
According to Eva's book, her father's sister emigrated to New York at quiet a young age.
Joshua Hart emigrated to Australia with his wife and child. Eva went to Australia and stayed with them after the death of her mother.
Shadow of the Titanic A Survivors Story by Eva Hart. ISBN 1-874529-29-9 Greenwich University Press
Time date.com for day of birth.
Ancestory.co.uk for death record
Various web sources
Ilford Graphic May 10 1912 night of the sinking and other details.
Report on the loss of the S.S (sic) Titanic: Alan Sutton publishing, 1998.
ISBN: 0 86299 723 2. Details regarding lifeboat 14
Titanic, Women and children first. Judith Geller 1998 ISBN 1 85260 594 4
Details of the journey and later life.
Titanic Voices Donald Hislop, Alastair Forsyth and Sheila Jemima 1998 ISBN 0
7509 1832 2 The voyage.
Chadwell Heath Historical Society article by Christine Goldsmith. Eva's
address at death.