28th April 2015
Harland & Wolff Reunion Event at the Drawing Offices (4 May, 1 – 5pm)
Titanic Foundation Limited are holding an open day on May 4th from 1-5pm in the historic former Drawing Offices for Harland and Wolff, and would welcome the opportunity to hear the stories of any former employees, or from the families of former employees. We are also delighted to have Queens University, history students coming along to help collect all the wonderful stories from the shipyard era.
The Drawing Offices building is the most significant and oldest structure remaining of Belfast’s shipbuilding industry on Queen’s Island. Once the control centre for the largest shipyard in the world, it was the centre of Harland and Wolff activities for more than a century, where men created, designed and built thousands of ships including the White Star Olympic Class Liners – Olympic, Titanic and Britannic and naval warships such as HMS Belfast.
The Drawing Offices were vacated by Harland & Wolff in 1989. Unoccupied ever since, the building has been considered ‘at risk’ for the last decade, however Titanic Foundation Limited in partnership with Titanic Quarter Limited have been working together to restore the building into a boutique hotel with accessible heritage space. In January 2015, the partnership successfully secured a £4.9million grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund’s Heritage Enterprise programme, which is designed to help when the cost of repairing historic buildings is so high that restoration is not commercially viable. HLF will support the restoration and preservation of the two magnificent Drawing Offices, where the reunion event will be held.
Kerrie Sweeney, Chief Executive of Titanic Foundation, believes that the open day will inform the project further ‘as part of our successful application to Heritage Lottery Fund, we committed to delivering an engagement plan to reconnect the people of Belfast with this important part of their maritime heritage. We have had a great deal of interest in our reunion event and will use this opportunity to learn more about what happened in the building from the men and women who worked there’ Former employee Rodney McCullough highlighted, ‘The building not only represents the hub of the massive Harland & Wolff empire, but was the creator of so many enduring friendships’
The building will be open from 1pm on Monday 4th May and everyone is welcome to come along and share their stories. Access is via the rear doors of the Drawing Offices, looking out onto the slipways and Titanic Belfast.