Shipyard workers


Keith Farrell


My name is Keith Farrell, I work for Granada TV in the UK. We are currently making a docu-drama “Building the Titanic” which aims to tell the story the Titanic's construction and those who built her. We are looking for the stories of real Harland & Wolff workers who may have worked on the design or construction of the Titanic. Of course no one who worked on the construction of the ship is alive today, so I would like to speak to the family of ex-Harland & Wolff staff who worked on the Titanic while she was at the shipyard.

Did your ancestors help build the ship? Have you investigated their life story? If so could you contact me at [email protected].

Thanks very much

Hi Keith.

If you want a great story, contact the Belfast Titanic Society. Their President, John F. Parkinson saw the Titanic being built; his father worked in the shipyard, and Mr. Parkinson still possesses some of the tools his father used.

I met Mr. Parkinson in April 1996 (THS Convention, in Belfast); he graciously autographed my copy of "Titanic: An Illustrated History", with a comment that "My father made these doors", referring to the picture of the glass doors, now used as windows at the White Swan Hotel, in Alnwick, page 47, "Illustrated History".

Mr. Parkinson is a true gentleman. I just hope that, at around age 97, he is still up to giving interviews, and that he has recorded his father's stories.
Has anyone come across the date of birth or Charles Payne's age at any given time. I think he was a great great uncle of mine but I need to corroborate this. Or if anyone knows where he was born that would be enough.

Jason D. Tiller

Hello Janice,

Welcome aboard. Did Charles work at Harland & Wolff or was he supposedly on board as a passenger? If it's the latter, there wasn't a Charles Payne aboard.

Jason D. Tiller

Hi Daniel,

I'm just going by what it says here on ET and Charles Payne does not come up. The only person with the name Payne that is listed is Vivian Ponsonby Payne.
Right first time, Jason. Charles Payne worked at Harland & Wolff - as the shipyard manager. The hydraulic machinery that gave Titanic its first push down the slipway was operated on Payne's orders, so if anyone can be said to have launched the ship, it was he.
As Bob correctly states, Charles Payne did work for Harland & Woolf. He held several posts including Managing Director. His career span was 46 years with the company. He wasnt on board Titanic. I'm almost sure he was my ancestor but I just need to know either where he was born, or if anyone has come across his age at any given time. I already know this information about my Charles Payne but I want to be certain it is the same person.

I've been searching for around 2 years now.


I am a new arrival here. But have a family interest in Titanics history. My Great grandfather helped build ber and other ships IE Queen Mary. He was a carpenter and as i have been told by my Grandfather he worked on the stair case in the main ballroom. I would like to know if there is a list of people who worked on her?
>>I would like to know if there is a list of people who worked on her?<<

Nope. Sorry. Harland and Wolff tended to assign people as and where needed to various different jobs around the shipyard. If there was any such documentation, the papers have long since been lost to history.

Claire Wilson

I was just watching Titanic : Birth of a Legend and i wanted to know more about Liam Flaherty, i know nothing much about him and would love to know more. Can anyone help me?


[Moderator's note: This thread, originally posted in another topic has been moved here. JDT]
CHARLES PAYNE- I've noted that some members especially Bob Godfrey and Dave Gittins seem to know a lot about Charles Payne, managing director of Harland Woolf. I've found out recently that he was my ancestor and he was born Stockton-on-Tees. I would love to know more. Has anyone ever seen a photo of him? There must be one out there somewhere. Also does anyone know when or where he died? Anything would be appreciated. Thanks
Janice, there are photos of Charles Payne in Shipbuilders to the World, if you can get hold of a copy.

I don't actually know much about his life. Various details are scattered through the book.