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  • Belfast Between The Wars


Belfast News-Letter, Saturday 15th June 1935



It was officially announced yesterday that the North Yard of Messrs. Workman Clark (1928) Ltd., Belfast, is to be closed to shipbuilding, and that the South Yard has been taken over by Messrs. Harland & Wolff, Ltd.

The following statement was issued by Harland & Wolff:-

“Negotiations have now been concluded between Messrs. Harland & Wolff, Ltd., and Messrs. Workman Clark (1928), Ltd., in conjunction with National Shipbuilders Security, Ltd., where by shipbuilding on the North side of the river at Belfast will be discontinued.

“The ship building and engineering activities of Workman Clark on the South side of the river, however, which are adjoining the works of Harland & Wolff, will become part of that establishment, so that the future shipbuilding and marine engineering activities of the port will be concentrated at Queen’s Island.

“Following these arrangements Mr. William Strachan, jun., has appointed a director of Harland & Wolff, Ltd.

“It is further announced that Mr. F. G. Dunlop has been appointed a director of Harland & Wolff, Ltd., and will be in charge of the Company’s repair works at London, Liverpool and Southampton, the position previously occupied by Mr. James Gray, who is returning to the services of the Union-Castle Mail Steamship Co., Ltd.”

“Very few men will lose employment through the deal,” the secretary of Workman Clark told a reporter yesterday. “Harland & Wolff have already taken over many of the workmen and the remainder will be absorbed into the big firm. The staff has gradually been reduced during the last few months.”

During a career of over half a century Workman Clark have launched 536 vessels, including many well known liners for British and foreign companies.


The North Yard site, which was let to Messrs. Workman Clark, is at present the subject of negotiations for the establishment of an aircraft factory by a proposed private company. In that direction discussions have taken place between the Belfast Harbour Commissioners and Mr. William Strachan, managing director of Messrs. Workman Clark, and it is expected that a decision will soon be reached.

Messrs. Harland & Wolff have a great deal of work in hand in Belfast. Four liners, making a total tonnage of about 80,000, are under construction for the Union Castle Mail Steamship Company, and in addition there are two Blue Star liners, H.M.S. Penelope, a cruiser for the Admiralty, and a considerable number of repair contracts. The firm will probably secure the business connection with their late rivals had in various parts of the world. Already they have obtained an order from a passenger and fruit-carrying company for a passenger-cargo vessel, which in other circumstances would probably have been given to Messrs. Workman Clark.

Mr. Frederick G. Dunlop, who has been appointed a director of Harland & Wolff, entered the drawing office of the firm some thirty-nine years ago and was promoted to assistant manager under the late Mr. Thomas Andrews. Subsequently he became finishing manager and then shipyard manager. In 1918 he was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire, and two years later an Officer of the same Order.

Son of the late Mr. Samuel Dunlop, who was an employee of the firm for fifty years and latterly cashier, he is a brother of Mr. Samuel Dunlop, secretary of the Belfast Chamber of Trade, of Mr. Thomas Dunlop, an inspector in the Consular service, and of Mr. W. Dunlop, of Belfast. Another brother, Mr. H. Dunlop, who died three years ago, was chief engineer of Shackleton’s last Polar expedition. His nephew, Mr. S. H. Dunlop, is an assistant manager in the firm’s engineer works at Belfast.


Mr. William Strachan, jun., is the only son of Mr. William Strachan, chairman and managing director of Workman Clark 1928 Ltd., of which firm he was a director.

Mr. James Gray began his business career as an apprentice with the Fairfield Shipbuilding and Engineering Company, and, after filling a junior post with the Union Castle Mail Steamship Company in London, succeeded to the position of assistant superintending engineer. Some years later he joined the Canadian Pacific Railway Company as chief superintendent of the ocean services, and in 1915 he returned to the Union Castle Company as chief superintendent engineer. He was appointed general manager of the repair works of Messrs. Harland & Wolff, Limited, in 1925, and was promoted to the Board in 1929. Mr. Gray is a member of the Institution of Civil Engineers and the Institution of Naval Architects. He re-joins the Union Castle Line as superintendent engineer on 1st July.


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