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Sir Edward James Harland

Sir Edward James Harland

Born 15th May 1831 – Died 24th December 1895

Edward Harland was born in Scarborough in the North Riding of Yorkshire. He was educated at the Edinburgh Academy.

Sir Edward Harland

Sir Edward Harland

In 1846 at the age of 15 he took an apprenticeship at the engineering works of Robert Stephenson and Company, famous locomotive engineers, in Newcastle upon Tyne. Afterwards he was employed in jobs in Glasgow and again in Newcastle, before moving to Belfast in 1854 to manage Robert Hickson’s shipyard at Queen’s Island.

Four years later he bought the present “Titanic” yard and renamed the business Edward James Harland and Company. In 1861 he formed a business partnership with Gustav Wilhelm Wolff, his former personal assistant, creating Harland and Wolff. Later, Harland recruited William James Pirrie as another partner. Edward Harland, Gustav Wolff and William James Pirrie maintained a successful business, receiving regular orders from the White Star Line, before Harland’s retirement in 1889, leaving Wolff and Pirrie to manage the shipyard.

Outside his company, Harland served as a Belfast harbour commissioner. In 1885, Harland was granted a knighthood and a baronetcy. Harland was a member of the Conservative and Unionist Party, and served as Mayor of Belfast; later he moved to London and served as Member of Parliament for Belfast North until his death.

His father was Dr William Harland of Scarborough who was a physician and an amateur engineer. He invented a patented steam powered carriage in 1827.

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