Harland and Wolff Shipbuilders Plate/Plaque

Harland and Wolff Shipbuilders Plate/Plaque

Postby stephen larkin on Fri Jul 13, 2012 2:47 am

Hi everyone,

Let me introduce myself (as this is my first post) , I am Stephen Larkin a 48 year old life long Titanic and Harland and Wolff enthusiast. I also own White Star Momentos Ltd, the Northern Ireland based Titanic and White Star Line gift company.

Now to my subject...

I have recently purchased at auction a brass/bronze Harland and Wolff Shipbuilders plate/plaque, it measures about 20 inches by 11 inches (oval) and weighs 17 kilos. It also has the numbers 1940 stamped onto the rear.

I was wondering firstly how rare are these plates ?

Are there any others in N Ireland or even the UK ?

What is its current value ? (Given that I dont think I will ever part with this amazing item)

Any information would be gratefully appreciated... Stephen
stephen larkin
 
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Re: Harland and Wolff Shipbuilders Plate/Plaque

Postby Tom McCluskie on Fri Jul 13, 2012 5:41 am

Hi Stephen,

Your plaque sounds interesting and a photograph would certainly help but based on your description I would guess the following. The plaque is not especially rare and several are in existence dotted about the UK, mostly in maritime museums and galleries although I am aware of a number in private hands. The number on the back may refer to a casting date although I have never personally seen this before. It certainly is not a reference to a ship or engine number. As to value, it depends on what someone would pay for it, it apparently does not have any particular significance and if genuine is one of several hundreds made. Each vessel had at least two, one on the bridge front and one in the engine room. A good clue is if it is slightly curved it is likely to be a bridge plate and if flat the engine room variety however both were identical only being curved where necessary if the mounting point on the bridge front was convex. As a curio it is a nice piece especially if polished and mounted. I personally arranged for the recovery of the SS Canberra's builders plate to be returned to Harland and Wolff and I now believe it is located in the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum.
It was like that when I got here
Tom McCluskie
 
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Location: Northern Ireland

Re: Harland and Wolff Shipbuilders Plate/Plaque

Postby stephen larkin on Sat Jul 14, 2012 2:17 am

Thanks very much Tom for your informative answers, if anyone else has any comments to add about this Item I would be very interested to hear what you have to say...

Stephen.
stephen larkin
 
Posts: 2
Joined: Fri Jul 13, 2012 2:35 am

Re: Harland and Wolff Shipbuilders Plate/Plaque

Postby Simon Mills on Sat Jul 14, 2012 1:40 pm

I seem to recall being contacted a few months back about someone who allegedly had a builder's plate taken from Britannic's engine room while she was being converted to a hospital ship. The plate in question was quickly identified as a fake, but after that little matter was resolved I remember David McVeigh from Harland and Wolff sending me an image of the original builder's plate taken from the HMS Bulwark in 1948. From what I remember, but by all means Tom please feel free to correct me, the design of the plates remained pretty much unchanged for decades and not too long ago I believe that Harland and Wolff were even making some replacements for the Nomadic after completing the structural renovations. The plates are actually not that expensive, costing about £180 each -- or about $280. They are in fact manufactured by Merseyside Castings, a regular H&W contractor, and apparently the same company which manufactures the BAFTA awards.

Whether or not this will lead to a glut of reproductions H&W builder's plates on the market masquerading as originals remains to be seen, but if in doubt, or if you want to ask about ordering your own, then you could always contact Merseyside Castings direct, contact details below:

Merseyside Castings
Unit 3, Cornhill Works
Marl Road
Knowsley Industrial Park North
Liverpool L33 7UH
Merseyside
United Kingdom

Tel: + 44 (0)151 547 4266
E-mail: admin@merseysidecastings.co.uk

Regards,

SM.
Simon Mills
 
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Re: Harland and Wolff Shipbuilders Plate/Plaque

Postby Tom McCluskie on Sun Jul 15, 2012 7:26 am

Simon is quite correct, the design and shape of these "builders plaques" has not changed since the original was produced way back in the 1850's when Harland and Wolff produced them in their own brass foundry, alas long since gone. I wasn't aware of the "new" manufacturer of these plaques but as always we are indebted to Simon for the information. I can imagine a sudden discovery of "genuine" Titanic plates just in time for Christmas :roll:
It was like that when I got here
Tom McCluskie
 
Posts: 214
Joined: Wed Oct 08, 2008 5:44 am
Location: Northern Ireland


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