|Birth Day:||February 7, 1873|
|Death Date:||Apr 15, 1912 (age 39)|
As per our current Database, Thomas Andrews died on Apr 15, 1912 (age 39).
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After leaving the Royal Belfast Academical Institution, he began his time at Harland and Wolff as an apprentice.
Thomas Andrews was born on 7 February 1873 at Ardara House, Comber, County Down, in Ireland, to The Rt. Hon. Thomas Andrews, a member of the Privy Council of Ireland, and Eliza Pirrie. Andrews was a Presbyterian of Scottish descent, and like his brother considered himself British. His siblings included John Miller Andrews, the future Prime Minister of Northern Ireland, and Sir James Andrews, the future Lord Chief Justice of Northern Ireland. Thomas Andrews lived with his family in Ardara, Comber. In 1884, he 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.
At Harland and Wolff, Andrews 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. He worked tirelessly during the day and continued his studies in the evening hours. In 1901, boarding at 11 Wellington Place, after working his way up through the many departments of the company, he became the manager of the construction works. That same year, he also became a member of the Institution of Naval Architects. In 1907, he was appointed the managing director and head of the drafting department at Harland and Wolff. By that point, Andrews had earned a reputation as a genius in the field of ship design. During his long years of apprenticeship, study, and work, he had become well-loved in the company and amongst the shipyard's employees. His kindness and generosity was well-documented. He was always willing to acknowledge the hard work of other people, and his wife recalled that he had of himself "the humblest opinion of anyone I ever knew."
In 1907, Andrews began to oversee the plans for three new ocean liners for the White Star Line: the RMS Olympic, the RMS Titanic and the RMS (later HMHS) Britannic. All three ships were designed by William Pirrie and general manager Alexander Carlisle along with Andrews to be the largest, safest and most luxurious ships at sea. As he had done for the other ships he had overseen, Andrews familiarised himself with every detail of Olympic, Titanic and Britannic, in order to ensure that they were in optimal working order. Andrews's suggestions that the ship have 48 lifeboats (instead of the 20 it ended up with) as well as a double hull and watertight bulkheads that went up to B deck, were overruled.
On 24 June 1908, he married Helen Reilly Barbour, daughter of textile industrialist John Doherty Barbour and sister to Sir John Milne Barbour- known as "Milne". Their daughter, Elizabeth Law-Barbour Andrews (known by her initials, "ELBA"), was born on 27 November 1910. The couple lived at Dunallan, 12 Windsor Avenue, Belfast, now numbered 20. It is known that Andrews took Helen to view the RMS Titanic one night, shortly before Elizabeth was born.
Andrews headed a group of Harland and Wolff workers called the guarantee group, who went on the maiden voyages of their ships in order to observe ship operations and spot any necessary improvements. Titanic was no exception, so Andrews and the rest of his Harland and Wolff group travelled from Belfast to Southampton on Titanic for the beginning of her maiden voyage on 10 April 1912. During the voyage, Andrews took notes on various improvements he felt were needed, primarily cosmetic changes to various facilities. However, on 14 April, Andrews remarked to a friend that Titanic was "as nearly perfect as human brains can make her."
Although this has become one of the most famous legends of the Titanic disaster – published in a 1912 book (Thomas Andrews: Shipbuilder by Shan Bullock) and thereby perpetuated – there is circumstantial evidence to show that Stewart, in fact, left the ship in lifeboat No. 15 at approximately 1:40 a.m., half an hour before his reputed sighting of Andrews.
On 19 April 1912, his father received a telegram from his mother's cousin, who had spoken with survivors in New York: "INTERVIEW WITH TITANIC'S OFFICERS. ALL UNANIMOUS THAT ANDREWS DIED A HEROIC DEATH, THINKING ONLY OF OTHER'S SAFETY. EXTEND HEARTFELT SYMPATHY TO ALL."
In his home town, Comber, one of the earliest and most substantial memorials for a single victim of the Titanic disaster was built. The Thomas Andrews Jr. Memorial Hall was opened in January 1914. The architects were Young and McKenzie with sculpted work by the artist Sophia Rosamond Praeger. The hall is now maintained by the South Eastern Education Board and used by The Andrews Memorial Primary School. An Ulster History Circle blue plaque is located on his house in Windsor Avenue, Belfast.
Today, the SS Nomadic is the sole surviving ship designed by Andrews, and Asteroid 245158 Thomasandrews was named in his honour in 2004.
Currently, Thomas Andrews is 149 years, 6 months and 10 days old. Thomas Andrews will celebrate 150th birthday on a Tuesday 7th of February 2023.
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