LADY PIRRIE

The Times

WIDOW OF THE GREAT SHIPBUILDER
---
Viscountess Pirrie, widow of the famous Belfast shipbuilder and
shipowner, died yesterday at her home in Carlos Place, W., at the age of
78.

She was Margaret Montgomery, daughter of Mr. John Carlisle, headmaster
of the Royal Academical Institution, Belfast, and she was married to Mr.
Pirrie in 1879. He was already a partner and practically master of the
firm of Harland and Wolff, which he had entered as an apprentice, and he
found in his wife's brother and his own cousin, afterwards the Right
Hon. A. M. Carlisle, who had succeeded him as head draughtsman, just the
helper he needed. Lord Pirrie always maintained that without his wife
and his brother-in-law he could never have become the great shipbuilder
and shipowner of his generation. His wife was his constant companion,
travelling round the world with him, and taking a keen interest both in
the business and in the welfare of his numerous employees. She was with
him when he died at sea in June, 1924, off Havana, while on his way to
New York.

It was at his request that she was then appointed president of Harland
and Wolff, a position specially created for her. Her husband had been
the first honorary freeman of Belfast, and she was the first woman to
receive the same honour and was also the first woman magistrate for
Belfast. She was associated with many public bodies, being a Senator of
Queen's University, and president of the Royal Victoria Hospital which
Lord Pirrie helped to establish. She was a governor of the Royal
Academical lnstitution, and was elected in 1927 an honorary life member
of the Belfast Chamber of Commerce; she was also a member of the
Shipwrights' Company of London. In the War she formed and carried on her
private household work guild, and distributed thousands of articles for
hospitals, the Navy, and the Queen Mary Guild. After the War the work
was continued for the benefit of various hospitals. After Lord Pirrie's
death, his executors sold Witley Park, Surrey, which he had bought in
1911 and which formerly belonged to Mr. Whitaker Wright, who spent large
sums on its development. Lady Pirrie leaves no children.
 

Related Biographies:

William James Pirrie

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