Belfast Shipbuilders

A Titanic Tale

Belfast once had the largest shipyard in the world, Harland and Wolff. It was there in 1912 that probably the most infamous ship, RMS Titanic, departed from the lough and sailed into the history books. This book traces the growth of the ship building industry in Belfast via stories from the small number of families responsible.

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Today in Belfast heavy industry is the exception rather than the rule. Yet this city and its hard-working citizens have, over the years, placed Belfast at the top of the Industrial league. There were many industries but what made Belfast world famous was shipbuilding. It could proudly boast to having the largest shipyard in the world, that of the massive east Belfast shipyard of Harland and Wolff. It was here in 1912 that probably the most famous or infamous ship, the RMS Titanic, departed from the Lough and sailed into the history books.

The earliest records of this fledgling industry date to around the year 1630, when King Charles I was on the throne, Urban VIII was Pope and, in Belfast, local Presbyterian ministers commissioned the building of a ship, the Eagle Wing, that was to transport them away from these shores. Shipbuilding was formally established on the banks of the Lagan in 1791 when a Scot by the name of William Ritchie saw the potential and set up his own firm. From that date shipbuilding was to grow at such a pace that Belfast became the envy of the world.

Individuals were to make their mark but most of the growth can be attributed to a small number of families and their connections. This book traces the shipbuilding industry in Belfast via the stories of these families.



  • Format: Paperback / Softback
  • Published On: 30 April 2011
  • Publisher: Colourpoint Books
  • ISBN / EAN: 9781906578787
  • Page Count: 208
  • Dimensions: 10.25 in x 8.30 in x 0.50 in

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