Northern Ireland news

Key Harland and Wolff book to go on public display

A book gifted to Harland and Wolff chairman Lord Pirrie by workers at the shipyard is to go on public display this weekend

A BOOK gifted to the man who helped Harland and Wolff become the biggest shipbuilder in the world is to go on display in Northern Ireland for the first time in more than a decade.

The employees of the shipyard gave the leather-bound book to Lord Pirrie, who was chairman during the building of the Titanic, after he became the first Viscount Pirrie in 1921.

The book includes praise from shipyard workers on the businessman's new title and several pages of their names.

Owned by Harland and Wolff, the book will be on display in the Titanic Hotel Belfast on Sunday and Monday as part of this year's Belfast Titanic Maritime Festival.

Lord Pirrie started in the shipyard as a 16-year-old gentleman apprentice in 1862 before becoming chairman in 1895, following the death of Edward Harland.

The businessman served as a Harbour Commissioner, was Lord Mayor of Belfast in 1896 and in 1898 was made the first Honorary Freeman of Belfast.

Lord Pirrie and his wife Lady Margaret Pirrie also helped raise funds for the development of the Royal Victoria Hospital.

The Titanic Foundation has organised the display of the book.

The charity's chief executive Kerrie Sweeney said the book will be displayed in the room where Lord Pirrie had an office.

"As part of the restoration and transformation of the former drawing offices and headquarters building into Titanic Hotel Belfast we open the heritage areas in the building to the public for free on key dates," she said.

Jonathan Guest, chief executive of Harland and Wolff Group, said Lord Pirrie had had a huge impact on Belfast.

"It is fantastic that we get to remember his work with the public display of such an important piece of memorabilia from the Harland and Wolff collection," he said.

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