H&W shipyard


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Rolf Vonk

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Hi there,

Sam told that he lived not far from the H&W shipyard. It's terrible that the shipyard is in troubles. I was wondering if the Titanic-dock (I don't know if dock is the right word in English but I mean the exactly place were the Titanic was built) still excists. It was one of the largest docks isn't it. The shipyard of H&W must have been very popular. Almost all the ships of the Dutch Holland America Line (HAL) were built by H&W too.

Note for people who do not only love Titanic:
In July 1912 the keel of the newest Dutch liner Statendam II was laid on the exact place were the Titanic was built before. Statendam II was the 6th biggest ship in the world at that time. Because H&W built the Statendam II, the managing director of the HAL, Jonkheer Reuchlin, travelled to New York on the Titanic. The HAL had a special interest in the Titanic. Statendam II was almost the same as Titanic. The HAL wanted to know how the things go onboard a ship like Titanic. Therefor Mr. Reuchlin boarded Titanic. He died.

Hope someone could help me further.
Greetings Rollie
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Sam Brannigan

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hi Again Rollie
The old gantry system at Harland and Wolff, which covered numerous slipways was removed in the late 1960s to create the huge building dock that exists today, and the mammoth cranes "Samson" and "Goliath" ,each capable of lifting a load of over 800 tonnes.
Ill get back to you about the gantries which built the Olympic Class ships but i expect they were destroyed during extensive bombing in World War 2. The slipway from which the titanic was launched fortunately still exists and is still very impressive, albeit very run down.
 
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Dean Manning

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Rollie,

The gantry used to build the Olympic class ships were torn down in the late 1960's. The slip way itself still exists, but it's now a storage area and parking lot. Check out TT&T pg.332.

bye.

-Dean
 

Mark Baber

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Hello, Rollie---

Statendam, like Tritannic, was destined never to carry a single fare-paying passenger.

Laid down in 1912 and launched in 1914, Statendam was unfinished when WW I broke out. She sat, unfinished, at H&W until 1915, when the British government requisitioned her and resumed work. She was completed in April 1917, and initially intended as the replacement for Lusitania; thus the Cunard-sounding name, which means "justice" in Latin. Cunard, however, had trouble putting together a crew, while White Star had Britannic's crew easily available. Thus, the ship was put under White Star management (the Government still owned her) rather than Cunard's. She was never painted in any line's livery: when delivered she was painted gray, and in 1918 she was repainted in dazzle.

On 19 July 1918 Justicia was torpedoed three times by UB 64 off Skerryvore, Scotland, without sinking, and was taken in tow to Loch Swilley. The next day, though, she was torpedoed twice more, by UB 124, and sank; 16 engine room crew were killed. Later in the day, UB 124 was herself sunk by the destroyers "protecting" Justicia. A Royal Navy inquiry was held into how Justicia, escorted by at least three destroyers, was torpedoed five times within 18 hours, all in daylight; it concluded that the determination and bravery of the U-boat crews was "beyond belief".

After the war, Holland America was compensated for Justicia's loss with 60,000 tons of steel.

Sources: Williams and de Kerbrech's Damned by Destiny; Haws' Merchant Fleets; Williams' Wartime
Disasters at Sea.

MAB
 
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Rolf Vonk

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Hi There,

Sam & Dean: Thanks for the information about H&W shipyard. I think it's amazing that the slipway still excists, but can't it be put under national heritage???

Mark: Wow, great that you know so much about Statendam II. It's true that the ship never carried any passenger. For the loss of the ship the HAL was compensated with, I believe two big German passenger liners. I don't know anymore their exactly names ( I have to check that out). The interior's of Statendam II were still at H&W shipyard after the Statendam II had gone. These were used for the Statendam III wich maiden voyage was in 1929. Because of that, the Statendam III looked like an old lady with her authentic interior's. The shipdesign was so much different at that time ( you know: the entrance of Art deco etc). Statendam III was very beloved among the passengers. The old interior gave her such a grandeur like Titanic and Olympic. For aged passengers old times must have revived!

Greetings Rollie
 

Sam Brannigan

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Hi Rollie
Agree with your point about national heritage. Apparantly there is a development either in the planning or construction stage to build a "Titanic Park" in East Belfast. I dont know much about its purpose or what it will look like.
Any ideas anyone?
 

Senan Molony

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Slipway 3 still exists and there are in fact no cars on it. It ISN'T a car park.
There is a bare area in front of 3 where a couple of cars might be parked, but no more than that because that area of the shipyard is so little used today.
Think of the slip as a wedge. You wouldn't drive a car up an incline like that. Besides access is from the River Lagan.... well, of course...
It used to be a ship park, remember?

Rollie, I think you are also tlaking about the Thompson Graving Dock and this still exists too. Funnily enough I have just written an article on both the slipways/gantry and TGD for the current issue of the White Star Journal, organ of the Irish Titanic Hist Soc.
 
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Rolf Vonk

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Hi there,

Senan, I don't know much things about the excisting Docks at H&W's, so in wich sense did I refer to the Thompson Graving Dock?
Does a list excists of the ships made by H&W and the destination of those ships, or was many archive material lost during heavy bombing in WWII?

Sam, I think it's great when H&W and titanic slipway are situated in a kind of museumpark or so. Maybe that could keep the shipyard alive.
Though I guess it's not up to me to rebuild parts of your beautiful city with my horrible creations.
The shipyard is important, because the news of the threatening bankruptcy of H&W was mentioned in our regional Dutch paper! So I wonder if there are no action groups who fight for the survival of H&W.

Hope you could give me some information.
Greetings Rollie
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Rolf Vonk

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Hi Senan,

I forgot to ask you if the article you have written, is placed on the www. Or does the Irish Titanic hist. soc. have an own homepage?

Greetings Rollie
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Sam Brannigan

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Hi Rollie,
Much of H & W's history is scattered with government loans and state backing, the yards survival being crucial to the economic and political infrastructure of Northern Ireland. The economy is booming here now due to major investment after the peace process began and the more diverse businesses and people skills make the yards role in Ulster less significant. Living in the immediate area, it is obvious that many people see the yard as a black hole into which the government pours money which could be better used elsewhere. It is a business after all, and no amount of nostalgia and sense of history can justify flogging a dead horse. All we can do is hope for something major to boost the yard. By all accounts it is still a world leader in marine technology but if someone else is that bit cheaper they will get the contract! The days of "cost plus" building in Belfast are long gone.
 
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Rolf Vonk

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Hi Sam,

Are you trying to say that H&W lost prestige and is almost a kind of dead horse? I didn't know it was so terrible. I know another shipyard in the Netherlands that was bankrupted, but till the end it was still building ships. So I wonder if the H&W shipyard is building ships on this moment. And what kind of ships are build. Hughe ones like Titanic and Statendam or little ones??
It is strange that the people in Ulster don't fight for the shipyard when its economical role in your part of northern Ireland is so significant. That's just another reason to fight for it.
BTW, how does it came so far with H&W? Is it an indirect cause of the religious problems in Northern Ireland? It's surprising that the good reputation of H&W doesn't count.

Greetings Rollie
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Sam Brannigan

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Hi Rollie
Quickly through this one!
The yard has traditionally been seen as a protestant stronghold in Northern Ireland ( Im sure you have heard the (false) NO POPE story) and as such is not as endeared to the catholic community as one might expect. I feel that the yard is something our whole community should be very proud of, but others disagree. C'est la vie!
 
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Rolf Vonk

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Dear Sam,

Wow, very Quick!! I've heard the (false) NO POPE story (I have to confess that I was on the hand of the Catholics). I didn't know that story wasn't true. My well-meaning apologises for that. I think you must also be proud on yourself with such rational thoughts.
Sorry for all my questions, but is there anyone in your family who works with or by H&W??

I'm looking forward to your responses.
Greetings Rollie
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Sam Brannigan

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Hi Rollie
No family working there
Family friend who worked in a part of the yard dealing with outfitting just made redundant.
Shame, but he's highly skilled and will earn lots more money elsewhere.
I asked him once why he stuck with the wages at the yard and he said he was happy and felt comfortable working where 3 generations of his family worked before him. He was brilliant at getting me trips round the yard and Titanic info from the H&W archives. He's a pretty upset guy.
Although nowhere near as profound as the Titanic its interesting that if 500 or 1500 people are affected by something it has much more effect on you when you know just one.

Regards
Sam
 
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Rolf Vonk

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Hi Sam,

I'm sure the sittuation around H&W is striking a whole community. I understand what is going on and I have to tell you that it's still amazing for me that such a big part of Belfast is connected (direct or indirect) with only a shipyard. Now I'm talking with you about this issue it takes a more important place in the history of Titanic according to me. We are incline to remember the Titanic only as a ill-fated ship that struck an iceberg and went down with 1500 sould. But this H&W stuff could give us another view on it.

Greetings Rollie
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Sam Brannigan

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Hi Rollie
Youv'e just got me thinking! Why not set up a topic to find out how many companies who are prominent in the story of the disaster are still in business! I bet a few of them have got some interesting archives!
I've already started a topic today and dont want to look greedy! Why not get the ball rolling!!

Kind regards
Sam
 
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Rolf Vonk

Guest
Hey Sam,

Great idea!! I can add some things to that topic about a Dutch firm. I'm sure it is a good idea to save all the information and create a fully research on that area. Like I told you, there are some real diehards and I'm sure they have information.

I'm looking forward to that topic.

Greetings Rollie
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Sam Brannigan

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Hi Rollie
Look forward to your info!
Great to know we all helped create such a beautiful ship!
Regards
Sam
 
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Rolf Vonk

Guest
Hey Sam,

According to that topic we are going to start, it seems better to research first wich firms were involved in the building of Titanic.
Maybe we can add other things on the topic after that?

I'm looking forward to your information.
Greetings Rollie
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Sam Brannigan

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Hi Rollie
I agree. It may take a little time at my end as my work involves supplying the good people of Northern Ireland with enough alcohol to sink the Titanic this Christmas. Things havent changed here since Maud cleaned out the Turkish Baths. Ill have lots of time in the New Year though!

Regards
Sam
 
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