Harland & Wolff Archive

Business Archive of the Belfast shipbuilders, Harland & Wolff, 1861-c 1987. The collection includes extensive runs of administrative, financial, and technical records charting the evolution and development of the Company from its formal establishment in 1862. Remembered principally as the builders of the ill-fated passenger liner, the Titanic, Harland & Wolff is ranked amongst one of the most important and globally influential shipbuilding firms of the early 20th century. Reflecting 125 years of the Company's history, this collection stands as a testimony not only to the achievements of Harland & Wolff as a company, but also to the development of the ship building industry itself, the changing face of international trade and travel and the factors that impacted on it, e.g. World War. The collection itself consists of comprehensive series of minute books, reports, correspondence, financial ledgers, wage books, technical specifications, press cuttings, press releases and photographs etc. Of particular note are the business papers of senior officials including Viscount Pirrie (1847-1924), who led Harland & Wolff from 1896-1924, Sir Frederick Rebbeck, Chairman, 1930-62, Dr Denis Rebbeck, 1962-70, and Sir John Mallabar, 1966-70. The collection is also notable for material dealing with the Company's liaison with trades unions such as the Shipbuilding Employers' Federation, the Engineering and Allied Employers' National Federation, the Ship Constructors and Shipwrights' Association, the Confederation of Shipbuilding and Engineering Unions and the Association of Professional, Executive, Clerical and Computer Staff. Records relating to Harland & Wolff's works and premises in Great Britain are also well represented in the archive. In addition to papers relating to the firm's main Belfast office, there are papers and correspondence concerning the London works, Scotstoun works, Govan works, Southampton works, Clyde Foundry, Finnieston works, and the Liverpool Ship Repairing and Engineering works. Also worthy of mention are seven boxes of research notes of Michael Moss and John R. Hume, 1983-1986, authors of the Company's official history (Shipbuilders to the world: 125 years of Harland and Wolff, Belfast, 1861-1986'), one box of photograph albums illustrating the damage caused to the ship yards during the Belfast Blitz of 1941, and loose photographs of various launchings, royal visits, etc.


Business History. Shipbuilding. Manufacturing. World War Two. Maritime History. International Trade.

Physical characteristics

Approx. 2000 files, 200 volumes and 16,000 documents

Description or Catalogue

See PRONI Catalogue Reference D/2805 for details. Catalogues are available in the PRONI search room for consultation.


Accrual Policy
Accrual Method
Accrual Periodicity

Deposited collection - Indefinite Loan or permanent deposit? Further deposits remain possible.

Added by PRONI | Last updated on: 09 February 2018