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William Pirrie

Irish shipbuilder

Died when: 77 years 6 days (924 months)
Star Sign: Gemini


William Pirrie

William James Pirrie, 1st Viscount Pirrie, KP, PC, PC (Ire) (31 May 1847 – 7 June 1924) was a leading British shipbuilder and businessman.

He was chairman of Harland and Wolff, shipbuilders, between 1895 and 1924, and also served as Lord Mayor of Belfast between 1896 and 1898.

He was ennobled as Baron Pirrie in 1906, appointed a Knight of the Order of St Patrick in 1908 and made Viscount Pirrie in 1921.

In the months leading up to the 1912 Titanic disaster, Lord Pirrie was questioned about the number of life boats aboard the Olympic-class ships.

He responded that the great ships were unsinkable and the rafts were to save others.This would haunt him forever.

In Belfast he was, on other grounds, already a controversial figure: a Protestant employer associated as a leading Liberal with a policy of Home Rule for Ireland.

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