Catholics at Harland and Wolff


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julia feldmann

Guest
Hi everyone,

Does anyone know anything about the political situation and the catholics working at Harland and Wolff ?

Thanks,
Julia
 
S

Stephen Stanger

Guest
There were actually no Catholic workers there because H&W only employed Protestants.
Need I say more?
 
May 28, 2001
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ER... not exactly true, Stephen. In common with the shipyards on the Clyde at the time, catholics were regarded as rough labour and only employed on the 'lifting and hefting' work. The trade guilds in the early days kept themselves protestant by closing the apprenticeships to catholics. Shamefully, the trade unions in later years failed to force a change in attitude.

So really, it was even worse than not employing catholics, in a way. Catholics were employed, but only in the worst and usually most dangerous jobs, which - surprise, surprise - were also the ones with the lowest pay. The accident rcords of the Clyde yards of the early years prove uneasy reading, I'm told, with a higher than average listing of Irish surnames for the injured and dead (and these men were not insured) I'd imagine it was the same for Belfast.
 
Sep 28, 2002
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Northern Ireland
I AM AMAZED AT THIS STATEMENT.

My father and Grandfather worked here for 92 years between them and a lot of their friends had been been at our house, both Catholics and Protestants and we never asked what their religion was.

It wasn't religion either it was politics.

[Moderator's Note: This thread has been re-opened and this message, initially placed in a separate thread, has been moved. MAB]
 

Dave Gittins

Member
Apr 11, 2001
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I read somewhere that the H & W power station was a Catholic enclave. This was hardly "rough labour". They were vital workers, who had to be kept happy.

I think the number of Catholic workers in 1912 has been put at around 3,000. A minority, but quite a number of men. The unequal employment was partly due to H & W's habit of employing the relatives of existing workers. Once the Protestant majority was created, it was hard for it to be reduced, whatever the feelings towards Catholics.

Jim, I once read an account of a riot at H & W in which Protestant workers defended their Catholic mates against outsiders. As so often, I forgot to record the source. Any thoughts?
 

Derek McCann

Member
Mar 9, 2018
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My father, served his apprenticeship at the Yard, as far as I know. He was Catholic, and trained as a fitter - he was there during the building of the Titanic, as in the 1911 census he was registered as a fitter. I don't have any concrete evidence of this except that is what he told my mother, and she passed on to me.
 

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