Harland & Wolff, Arrol Gantry, Belfast

In 1907, White Star Line and Harland & Wolff got together to build two giant new Atlantic liners, the like of which the world had never seen before. It seemed only fitting to name these two  colossus vessels after greek gods, and so the Titanic and the Olympian were conceived.

Very quickly Harland & Wolff realised that they did not have the necessary infrastructure to construct the new ships and so they cleared the existing slipways and looked for an engineer capable of building a ground breaking new gantry under which both ships could be built at the same time.

There was only one man for the job, the world renowned Sir William Arrol who had built the Tay Bridge, the Forth Rail Bridge and the Tower bridge consecutively. Four thousand tonnes of concrete were required for the foundations of the giant gantry which was 840 feet long, 170 feet wide, 228 feet high and was constructed with over 6000 tonnes of steel.

In the middle was the world’s largest revolving cranes, on top was 4 travelling cranes and at the bottom there was 5 walking cranes at either side, amazingly there was also, 100 years ago, four lifts to take the men to their places of work. “