The company Harland and Wolff was established during 1861, by Gustav Wilhelm Wolff, born within Hamburg in the year 1834, and Mr. Edward James Harland born in the year 1831. In the year 1858 the general manager at the time, Harland, bought the small shipyard on Queen's Island. He bought the property from his employer, Richard Hickson.
Once Harland purchased Hickson's shipyard, he then made his assistant Wolff a partner in the business. Gustav Wilhelm Wolff was the nephew of Gustav Schwabe of Hamburg. He has invested heavily in the Bibby Line. The first 3 ships that the brand new shipyard made were for that line. By being inventive, Harland made the company a successful undertaking. One of his famous suggestions was increasing the ship's overall strength by replacing the upper wooden decks with iron ones. Additionally, he was able to increase the capacity of the ship by giving the hulls a flatter bottom and a square cross section.
The business eventually experienced increasing pressures in the shipbuilding sector causing them to shift their focus and broaden their portfolio. They chose to concentrate more on structural engineering and design and less on building ships. The business also diversified into the areas of offshore construction projects, ship repair and competing for more projects which had to do with construction and metal engineering.
These other interests led to Harland and Wolff constructing a series of bridges in Britain and in the Republic of Ireland. These bridges consist of the restoration of both the James Joyce Bridge and Dublin's Ha'penny Bridge. During the 1980s, their initial foray into the civil engineering sector happened with the building of the Foyle Bridge.
The MV Anvil Point was the last shipbuilding job of Harland and Wolff to date. This was amongst six almost identical Point class sealift ships that was constructed to be utilized by the Ministry of Defense. The ship was launched during the year 2003, after being built under license from Flensburger, Schiffbau-Gesellschaft, German shipbuilders.