In 1858, Edward James Harland became the man in charge at shipyard at Queen's Island, in Belfast for the sum of 5000 pounds. He had been an apprentice at Ropert Stephenson and Company at Newcastle-upon-Tyne from the age of 15, and had worked after his apprenticeship at Messrs. J & G Thompson in Glasgow. Growing quickly upon his takeover, the yard finished hulls 1, 2, and 3 quite successfully. The restarting of the yard's hull numbering marked real beginning of what was to become the famous Harland and Wolff shipbuilding company. Gustav Wilhelm Wolff, an engineer educated in Hamburg and Liverpool, was taken on as assistant in 1861, completed the name. At this point, Harland and Wolff were, respectively, 29 and 27 years old. Being young and ambitious paid off for these two men, as their innovative design brought their company many new orders for ships.

Harland and Wolff had a longstanding partnership with White Star Line, and are best known for their biggest embarrassment: The Titanic. However, her sister ship Olympic served admirably, with a career spanning a quarter of a century. The third sister Britannic, however, was unfortunate enough to have suffered a hit from a German mine while serving as a hospital ship in the Aegean Sea. The yard spent the rest of the war constructing warships for the Admiralty, and then proceeded after the war to churn out mercantile tonnage as quickly as possible to replace that lost during the war. Alas, the yards were bombed heavily during 1941, and due to the fact that 60% of the yard had been destroyed, took two years to get back up to speed.

Other famous or pioneering vessels to come out of the yard were the aircraft carrier HMS Eagle, the liner Southern Cross, the first supertanker built in the UK, called Myrina, and the first to find oil in the North Sea, called the Sea Quest. Unfortunately, the company now builds very few actual ships, and only has 25 men working in the shipyards, and have signed away most of their yard area for development to a Norwegian shipping tycoon, Fred Olsen. There doesn't seem to be much chance of a revival for H&W.

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