- Estimating notebooks - Govan Yard, 1905-1950s;
- Photograph albums of shipyards and individual ships, c1930-1962;
- Accounts, c1920s.
Records of Harland & Wolff plc, shipbuilders, Belfast, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland and Govan, City of Glasgow, Scotland
Scope and Content
Administrative / Biographical History
The origins of the company are in a yard laid out by Robert Hickson on Queen's Island, Belfast, in 1853. The following year Edward Harland became manager of this yard and in 1858 he took over the business which traded as Edward James Harland and Company. Gustav Wilhelm Wolff was put in charge of the drawing office and was admitted as a partner in 1861. The business opened its own engineering works in 1880. Queen's Island Shipbuilding & Engineering Co Ltd was incorporated as a limited liability company in 1885, changing its name to Harland and Wolff Ltd three years later.
The development of the company saw the establishment of repair facilities at Southampton, England, in 1907 and at Liverpool, England, in 1912. In order to achieve further expansion, a number of shipyards on the river Clyde were acquired: London & Glasgow Engineering & Iron Shipbuilding Co Ltd at Govan in 1912; Caird & Co Ltd, Greenock, Inverclyde, in 1916; the management of Ardrossan Dry Dock & Shipbuilding Co Ltd, Ardrossan, North Ayrshire, and Archibald Macmillan & Sons Ltd, Dumbarton, West Dumbartonshire, in 1918; and of David & William Henderson & Co, Meadowside, Glasgow, and A & J Inglis Ltd, Pointhouse, Glasgow, in 1919. Harland and Wolff became a public company in 1924.
In 1962, the yards of A & J Inglis Ltd and D & W Henderson Ltd were closed. The Govan shipyard was closed in the following year and the run-down of the company's other operations in Glasgow commenced. Activity was then concentrated in Belfast, and the London, Liverpool and Southampton repair facilities were abandoned. Harland and Wolff, though state-owned, remained outside British Shipbuilders when it was set up in 1977. The yard was privatised in 1989 after a management buy-out in which the principal shareholder was the shipping magnate, Fred Olsen. The company is now (2015) called Harland & Wolff Heavy Industries Limited, specialising in heavy marine engineering, ship design, shipbuilding and repair, offshore and renewable energy sectors.
Arranged chronologically within series
Conditions Governing Access
Permanent loan : Institute of Shipbuilders : Glasgow : 1990 : ACCN 0122
Other Finding Aids
Digital file level list available in the searchroom
Alternative Form Available
No known copies
Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements
None which affect the use of this material
Conditions Governing Use
Applications for permission to quote should be sent to the Archivist.
Reproduction subject to usual conditions: educational use and condition of documents
This material has been appraised in line with standard GB 248 procedures
Location of Originals
This material is original
No known publications using this material
Description compiled in line with the following international standards: International Council on Archives, ISAD(G) Second Edition, September 1999and National Council on Archives, Rules for the construction of personal, place and corporate names
Scotland is the location of all place names in the administrative/biographical history element, unless otherwise stated.
Fonds level compiled by Hannah Westall, Archives Assistant, 10 March 2000.
Revised by David Powell, Hub Project Archivist, 17 October 2002.
New fonds and lower level descriptions compiled by George Gardner, Archives volunteer, July 2011.