Harland and Wolff - Shipbuilding and Engineering Works

Painting by Frank Holl - Belfast Harbour Commissioners

Sir Edward Harland (1831–1895), Bt, MP

Born 15th May 1831 in Scarborough, North Yorkshire, he was educated at Edinburgh Academy.

In 1854 Edward James Harland came to Belfast to manage Robert Hickson's shipyard at Queen's Island.

In 1861, Harland chose the 27-year-old Gustav Wilhelm Wolff, his former personal assistant, to become a partner in the firm, forming Harland and Wolff. Harland's company had a prosperous relationship with Thomas Henry Ismay's White Star Line, a prominent shipping company, ensuring regular orders and financial success. Harland's designing skills created ships with flatter bottoms and squarer bilges to increase capacity.

He was a self-made man, characteristically energetic and self-reliant. He was generally popular and even beloved.

On 26 January 1860, Harland married Rosa Matilda Wann, of Vermont, Belfast, who was the daughter of Thomas Wann, a stockbroker and insurance agent.

Edward Harland served as the chief Belfast Harbour Commissioner from 1875 until the 1880s. Harland was a Presbyterian and a member of the Church in Rosemary Street, Belfast. As a member of the Conservative and Unionist Party, he served as Mayor of Belfast in 1885 and 1886, and strongly opposed the 1886 Home Rule Bill.

In 1885, Harland was granted a knighthood and on 25 July the same year, he was granted a baronetcy.

His death took place suddenly at his residence, Glenfarne Hall, near Enniskillen, from heart disease, on 23rd December 1895, in his sixty-fifth year.

Glenfarne Hall