Book Review – ‘The Rise and Fall of Harland and Wolff’ by Fred M. Walker
In the past 40 years, the business of Harland and Wolff has gone through traumatic times, and sadly, its shipbuilding days now are at an end. This period witnessed great changes in production methods, massive government intervention coupled with revised management structures and systems. Irrespective of the negative outcome, this complex story has to be recorded, as Harland and Wolff played a key role in the history of Northern Ireland and an important though much lesser part in the overall story of British shipbuilding. Sadly this book, with a mere six pages on the period in question, fails to address this vital matter, thereby calling into question the validity of the whole work.
To place this volume in perspective, it is disappointing that the narrative takes up less than two thirds of the book, while the relatively unimportant Harland and Wolff Ship List takes up 60 pages out of a total of 175. Furthermore, the ship list is quite shallow covering only name, type, date, tonnage and owner. The Harland and Wolff organization had facilities in most of the great rivers of Britain, and the contributions of these yards are neither mentioned nor specifically highlighted …