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Thomas Andrews
Sole Survivor 

Thomas Andrews

builder of the Titanic

Thomas Andrews, Jr.  (7 February 1873 15 April 1912)  was an Irish businessman and shipbuilder; managing director and head of the draughting department for the shipbuilding company Harland and Wolff in Belfast, Ireland. Andrews was the shipbuilder in charge of the plans for the ocean liner RMS Titanic. He was traveling on board the Titanic during its maiden voyage when it hit an iceberg on 14 April 1912 and was one of the 1,517 people lost in the disaster.

Thomas Andrews was born at Ardara House, Comber, County Down, Ireland, to the Right Honorable Thomas Andrews, a member of the Privy Council of Ireland, and Eliza Pirrie. The younger brother to future Northern Ireland Prime Minister John Miller Andrews, Thomas Andrews lived with his family in Ardara, Comber. In 1884, Andrews began attending the Royal Belfast Academical Institution until 1889 when, at the age of sixteen, he began a premium apprenticeship at Harland and Wolff where his uncle The Viscount Pirrie was part owner.

Harland and Wolff
At Harland and Wolff, he began with three months in the joiners' shop, followed by a month in the cabinetmakers' and then a further two months working on the ships. The last eighteen months of his five-year apprenticeship were spent in the drawing office. In 1901, Andrews, after working his way up through the many departments of the company, became the manager of the construction works. That same year, he also became a member of the Institution of Naval Architects. In 1907, Andrews was appointed the managing director and head of the draughting department at Harland and Wolff. During his long years of apprenticeship, study, and work, Andrews had become well liked in the company and amongst the shipyards employees.

On 24 June 1908, he married Helen Reilly Barbour, daughter of John Doherty Barbour and sister to Milne Barbour. Their daughter, Elizabeth Law Barber Andrews (known by her initials, "ELBA"), was born on 27 November 1910. The couple lived at "Dunallan", Windsow Avenue, Belfast. It is known that Andrews took Helen to view the RMS Titanic one night, shortly before Elizabeth was born. After Thomas's death, Helen married Henry Peirson Harland (of the Harland and Wolff family) and died 22 August 1966 in Northern Ireland. The family home stands today as the headquarters of the Irish Football Association.

RMS Titanic

In 1907, Andrews began to oversee the plans for a new superliner, the RMS Olympic for the White Star Line. The Olympic and its sister ship the RMS Titanic, which began construction in 1909, were designed by William Pirrie and general manager Alexander Carlisle along with Andrews. As he had done for the other ships he had overseen, Andrews familiarized himself with every detail of the Olympic and Titanic, in order to ensure that they were in optimal working order.


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