An A-Z of NI: H for Harland & Wolff

An A-Z of NI: H for Harland & Wolff

H&W was created by Edward James Harland and Gustav Wolff in 1861. A few years previously Edward Harland had taken over a Robert Hickson’s Belfast Shipyard. He made his assistant Gustav Wolff a partner.

William James Pirrie became chairman of H&W on Harland’s death in 1895, and his nephew Thomas Andrews became general manager. The journey towards its iconic shipbuilding status began with the building of the Olympic class ocean liners for White Star Line.

Thomas Andrews died on the Titanic.

William James Pirrie died in 1924 and is buried in Belfast City Cemetery. There is a memorial to Pirrie in the grounds of Belfast City Hall.

Currently at H&W

Most recently H&W delivered the first of 23 Cory barges, a contract worth over £18million. The barge became the first vessel built and launched from the iconic shipyard in 20 years, since MV Anvil Point was launched in 2003.

Fun facts
  • H&W is also referred to as Hello & Welcome.
  • The twin gantry cranes, known as Samson & Goliath, were built in 1974 and 1969 respectively and are protected structures visible from around the city.
  • Since it was founded, Harland and Wolff has constructed over 1,700 vessels.
  • The massive cranes are so iconic that they can be found on many souvenirs, tourism products and local art.
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