RMS TITANIC WAS LAUNCHED AT THE PORT OF BELFAST ON THE 31ST MAY, 1911. LORD PIRRIE WAS CHAIRMAN OF THE BELFAST SHIPYARD, HARLAND & WOLFF, AT THE TIME
WILLIAM PIRRIE, of Conlig House, County Down, married Elizabeth, daughter of William Morrison, and Letitia, his wife, daughter of Robert Miller, of Conlig, and Elizabeth, his wife, daughter of Thomas Leach, of Rathgael, who died in 1756.
He left issue, three sons and four daughters, of whom the second son,
JAMES ALEXANDER PIRRIE, of Little Clandeboye, County Down, wedded Eliza, daughter of Alexander Montgomery, of Dundesert, County Antrim.
Mr Pirrie died in 1849, leaving, with a daughter, Eliza (who married, in 1870, the Rt Hon Thomas Andrews), an only son,
WILLIAM JAMES PIRRIE (1847-1924), born at Quebec, Canada.
W J Pirrie's grandfather, Captain William Pirrie, of Conlig, County Down, was the son of a tenant farmer from Auchenmalg, Wigtownshire. Captain Pirrie was a trader in the Mediterranean Sea during the Napoleonic Wars; and was instrumental in the drainage of Belfast Lough.
- Right Honourable Lord Mayor of Belfast, 1896
- Privy Counsellor (I), 1897
- High Sheriff of County Antrim, 1898
- Created Baron Pirrie, 1906
- Comptroller of the Household to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, 1907-13
- Knight of the Most Illustrious Order of St Patrick, 1908
- HM Lord-Lieutenant of the City of Belfast, 1911-24
- Privy Counsellor (UK), 1918
- Northern Ireland Senator, 1921
- Advanced to a viscountcy, as Viscount Pirrie, 1924
|Pirrie Memorial at City Hall, Belfast|
Their London home was Downshire House (below), 24 Belgrave Square.
It was at Downshire House that plans for the Titanic and her sister ships were conceived at dinner between Lord Pirrie of Harland and Wolff and Joseph Bruce Ismay of the White Star Line.
Here is the entry in the London Gazette of 12th July, 1921:
To be a Viscount: The Rt. Hon. Sir William James, Baron Pirrie, K.P., LL.D., D.L. For valuable services to the Government in connection with ship-construction during the war. Charitable work in connection with the Royal Victoria and other hospitals.
Lord Pirrie died on 6th June 1924, aged 77, from pneumonia while voyaging off Cuba, without issue, when the titles became extinct.
First published in May, 2010.