Thomas Andrews Shipbuilder


Anja Walter

I just read the book "Thomas Andrews - a Titanic Hero" by Shan F. Bullock and now I´m wondering if it is really a good source for information on Thomas Andrews.
I´ve been interested in Titanic´s designer for years and that´s why I was looking for a real good biography. What I got was an almost unbelievable story. I got the impression that Bullock was talking about a saint and not a human being.
I know that the book was written in 1913 but it seems really strange to me that the author portrayed Thomas Andrews that way.

What do you think of this book ? Do you know if there´s a better book to read if one is interested in Thomas Andrews (I´ve already read "Belfast´s Own") ?

Apr 11, 2001
It has been around for a long time- I liked it- it was my first introduction to the man. Actually he STILL is regarded as a saint in his hometown. If you watch "A Question of Murder"they are still mourning his loss-never read a bad word about him-must have been an exemplary man in ALL respects.
Jul 10, 2005
I haven't read that book, but I WANT too! Everything else that I have read on the man praises him, so I concur with Shelley. I haven't seen "A Question of Murder" either, thanks for the heads up on that one too Shelley. BTW: How did the MTV thing go? I haven't heard anymore about your REAL WORLD stint.


Inger Sheil

Dec 3, 2000
Anja - I take your point about Bullock's splendid but rather hagiographical book. Given the era and the circumstances under which it was written, and the very real affection and regard in which Andrews was held, the author's uncritical approach is perhaps not very surprising. It reads not so much as a balanced biographical appraisal of the man, his life and work, but rather as a memorial - the literary equivalent of the stone memorial tablets erected 'In loving memory' (etc) of those who perished. I'll have to pull it out again and check the exact passages, but I found myself wondering on more than one occasion when reading the book what the full story was behind certain incidents referred to in a rather sketchy way.

Stephen Cameron, author of 'Belfast's Own', has been working on a biography of Thomas Andrews and has access to family papers. I don't know what the current status of the project is - last I heard, publication had been delayed.

~ Inger
May 8, 2001
What became of Elizabeth his daughter? Have I understood the last will correctly that Helen later married Thomas Andrews' uncles' partner and had 4 more children?
Thank you! Colleen

Anja Walter


Helen married Henry Peirson Harland, a nephew of Sir Edward Harland, Harland and Wolff´s founder.
They lived in Aldenham (England) and had 4 more children.
If you want to have some more info, feel free to contact me.

May 8, 2001
The nephew... Yes, that makes more sense. I was having a difficult time with the age difference. Thank you for clearing that up. Colleen

Chris Hansen

I'd been wondering about Helen Andrews! I wrote a message in another thread asking if anyone knew about what happened to her... I'm a part of a writing circle dedicated to (among other things) writing about Thomas Andrews, an one of our members was curious about what happened to Helen, and if anyone's got some dates as far as her marriage to Harry Harland, I'd really appreciate that. I'd heard the same, but I can't come up with any documentation that mentioned their date of marriage or the date of Harland's death.

And, does anyone know now if Stephen's book is even going to be published? Wolfshound Press keeps giving me the runaround when I ask.


Martin Pirrie

Dec 30, 2000
Thomas Andrews had two brothers: John Miller Andrews who became the second Prime Minister of Northern Ireland (1940 - 1943)and James Andrews who became Lord Chief Justice of Northern Ireland (1937-1951).

Martin Pirrie.

Nathan Good

I ordered this book off the internet for around 20 dollars. It was an interesting read and a good look into the man but I was definately suprised at how short it was. Maybe I was expecting too much? Good book though, just rather short and small for the price, I thought.

All the best,

May 19, 2009
BTW ... with regard to the last column of that census entry, it was heartening to discover that Thomas Andrews was not an "Imbecile or Idiot or Lunatic" !

Adam Went

Apr 28, 2003
Hey all,

Have you all seen / read this book? I bought it some years ago now but dusted it off again the other day and have been having another read. I call it a "book" but that's a pretty generous assessment given that from front cover to back cover it's less than 100 pages long. BUT it is, I think, an excellent assessment of the life and career of Thomas Andrews, made all the more interesting by the fact that the book was written in the immediate aftermath of the sinking (published in 1913, IIRC), by Irish writer Shan F. Bullock, and contains a number of interviews with those who knew Andrews well. It's hard to beat contemporary writing.

Not the most common book going around but definitely worth checking out if you get the chance and haven't done so already.

Here's the Amazon link:


[Moderator's note: This message, originally a separate thread in a different subtopic, has been moved to this pre-existing thread discussing the same book. MAB]
Feb 8, 2007
I love this book. Perhaps it makes Thomas Andrews too god-like, but I can't read it without getting weepy. You can feel how real these people were, and how devastated they all were.
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Adam Went

Apr 28, 2003
Thanks for the merger, mods....didn't realise this thread already existed.

Marlene, you're exactly right. And it's exactly why contemporary interviews and reports will always, always be the most interesting and close to heart to read, no matter what the subject is...


Mark Baber

Dec 29, 2000
The Times, London, 28 February 1935


Mr. Shan F. Bullock, the Irish author, who died last evening at his
residence at Cheam after a long illness at the age of 69, was the author of
14 novels of Ulster life and other volumes.

His real name was John William Bullock, and he was a native of Crom, Co.
Fermanagh, the eldest son of the large family of Thomas Bullock, J.P., of
Killynick House, Fermanagh. He was educated at Farra School, Co. Westmeath,
and came to London with an appointment in the Civil Service. For many years
he was a clerk at Somerset House. His first book was "The Awkward Squads,"
published in 1893, followed two years later by "By Thrasna River." Critics
praised the young unknown author for his restrained style and his faithful
delineation of Irish life. Among his early appreciators were J. M. Barrie
(with whom Bullock played cricket in more than one team of literary men) and
Thomas Hardy. A succession of novels followed, of which "The Barrys," "The
Red Leaguers," and "The Squireen" were outstanding examples of his work.
Then in 1907 he broke away from Ulster and wrote "Robert Thorne," a study of
a London clerk containing some autobiograpical touches. This book made a
great impression. At Sir Horace Plunkett's instigation Bullock wrote in 1912
the biography of Thomas Andrews, the shipbuilder who perishied on the maiden
voyage of the Titanic. With the Hon. Emily Lawless he collaborated in "The
Race of Castlebar." War evoked "The Making of a Soldier," which appealed to
parents who went through the anxieties of wartime. Bullock won with "The
Loughsiders" a prize offered by Messrs. Harrap.

The death of his wife in 1922 called forth some poignant poems, prefaced by
Mr. George Russell ("AE."), published under the title of "Mors et Vita." His
reminiscences of his early years in Ireland appeared in a pleasant volume
entitied "After Sixty Years." He was elected to succeed George Moore in the
Irish Academy of Letters. He served on the secretariat of the Irish
Convention over which Sir Horace Plunkett presided, and was made an M.B.E.
for his services. Latterly, in his official career, he was at the office of
the Public Trustee until his retirement.

An excellent cricketer and golfer, he played until past his sixtieth
birthday. He was the correspondent on literary matters for a leading
American journal for 20 years. He leaves a son and a daughter.


Adam Went

Apr 28, 2003
Judging by the preface, Shan was indeed quite a celebrity "back in the day"....glad to hear that he had sporting interests as well, particul cricket - thanks for that, Mark.

Dec 29, 2006
It is interesting to note that, in his 1935 obituary, John William Bullock was referred to, without ambiguity, as an "Irish author", whereas in recent years many in the south of Ireland have tried to deny that such people were in any way "Irish". By so doing, of course, they negate vast swathes of Irish history and marginalise a whole pantheon of great Irishmen (such as Wellington, Castlereagh, Admiral Beatty, T.E.Lawrence, etc., etc).

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