On September 17, 1908, a contract is signed to start construction for the Olympic Class Liners that were envisioned the previous year. Bruce Ismay and other White Star members arrive in Belfast, Ireland to review Harland and Wolff's construction plans. Chairman of H&W, William Pirrie presents the drawings with the assistance of his nephew, the managing director and head of the drafting department, Thomas Andrews.
Ultimately, they decide that they will build Olympic and Titanic side by side as identical twin sisters, then build Britannic later. This decision signals an economic boom for Belfast whose main industry is shipbuilding. This also gives a higher profile to Southampton, which is rapidly becoming the leading passenger port for England.
|William Pirrie (left) Thomas Andrews (right)