London, Great Britain
Alexander Montgomery Carlisle tablet
In 1870 Alexander Carlisle joined the Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast as an apprentice. Later, following his sister's marriage he became brother-in-law to William Pirrie, managing director of the Harland and Wolff shipyard.
For over forty years he worked for the yard, rising to the position of General Manager of the yard and Chairman of the Managing Directors. He retired on 30 June 1910. Both the Olympic and Titanic were under construction at the time; the Olympic was launched six months later in October 1910.
Interviewed as a witness at the British Inquiry into the Titanic disaster, Alexander Carlisle discussed his role in the construction of the Olympic and Titanic. He confirmed that "they were entirely designed practically by Lord Pirrie. The details, the decorations, the equipments, and general arrangements all came under me. Later in his testimony he confirmed Lord Pirrie's role covered "the length, the breadth, the depth, and the modelling."
Alexander Carlisle must have been deeply affected by the Titanic disaster; during a memorial service at St Paul's Cathedral in London on 19 April he was taken ill. The New York Times reported he "was very pale when he entered the cathedral. After taking his place he appeared deeply affected by the playing of the "Dead March"...and [while the liturgy was sung]...he fell back in a faint. Help was quickly at hand and Mr. Carlisle was taken from the cathedral, and after being attended by police ambulance men, recovered sufficiently to be driven home".
Alexander Carlisle died on 5 March 1926, aged 71. His body was cremated and ashes interred at Golders Green Crematorium in North London. A memorial tablet was later placed in the west cloister. The tablet has the following inscription:
Palmam Qui Meruit Ferat In loving remembrance of The Rt Hon Alexander Montgomery Carlisle Shipbuilder Belfast Born 8th July 1854 Died 5th March 1926 Mourned by his family