Originally number 12 Windsor Avenue, now numbered 20, "Dunallan" stands on Windsor Avenue off Lisburn Road in south Belfast, near to St Mary's University. For four years "Dunallan" was the Belfast home of Thomas Andrews, who as Managing Director of the Harland and Wolff shipyard led the design of the Titanic.
Thomas Andrews was born on 7 February 1873 to Thomas and Eliza Andrews. By the age of sixteen Thomas Andrews was apprenticed at his uncle's shipyard in Belfast where he spent the next five years working in the various departments of the shipyard, ultimately finishing his apprenticeship working in the drawing office. He became part of the drawing office in November 1892, and after rising through a number of managerial positions reached the position of Managing Director in March 1907.
In 1908 Thomas Andrews married Helen Reilly on 24 June. In a biography of Thomas Andrews published after his death author Shan Bullock wrote that "...his married life, so woefully restricted in point of years as it was rich in bounty of happiness...[and]...no matter how often he had been away or how late he had stayed at the Yard, never had Mrs. Andrews made a complaint." After honeymooning in Switzerland the couple set up home, moving into "Dunallan" in Belfast. They rented the property from its owner W R Patterson. On 27 Novemebr 1910 Helen Andrews gave birth to a daughter, named Elizabeth Law-Barbour Andrews. Thomas Andrews called her "Elba" on account of the initials of her name.
It was from "Dunallan" that Thomas Andrews set out on 2 April 1912 to join the Titanic's trial trip in Belfast Lough before she set sail from Southampton. There he led the nine men Guarantee Group from the Harland and Wolff shipyard. Their role was to resolve any teething issues with the new ship. In the disaster the nine men of the Guarantee Group and another 13 Belfast men named on the memorial died.
Built in 1863 "Dunallan" is an imposing red-brick two storey brick building. The ground floor features a large central doorway with columned portico. Either side, the building extends for two bays with large pedimented windows on the ground floor. The building has distinctive, decorative 'quoin' corner stones. Above the portico are two narrower windows with a decorative surround and frieze with prominent key stone. The building has a shallow hipped roof clad in grey slate tiles. A 'Blue Plaque' unveiled by the Ulster History Circle adorns the exterior of the building. The plaque carries the dedication:
Thomas Andrews 1873 - 1912 Designer of the TITANIC Lived here
"Dunallan" subsequently was owned by the Dixon family, who sold the property in 1960 to the Irish Football Association (IFA). For over half a century "Dunallan" served as the IFA's headquarters. A number of changes were made to the building and grounds; the front garden was given over to car parking and a large extension was added to the rear of the property. The original sash windows were replaced with modern uPVC units. For many years the IFA generously allowed Titanic enthusiasts to visit the property, to see what was the home of Thomas Andrews at the time of the Titanic disaster.
Prior to moving to new accommodation in February 2016 the IFA put the property on the market. The property was marketed as commercial offices, with offers invited in region of £1,100,000. As of May 2016 the property remains unsold. The building is not currently listed.
- Bullock, Shan F (1912) Thomas Andrews Shipbuilder Dublin/London: Maunsel & Company Ltd
- Frazer Kidd (2016) 20 Windsor Avenue Belfast: Frazer Kidd, http://www.frazerkidd.co.uk/Property/Details/480?page=1&propertytypeid=4&term=belfast&areaid=0&price=999999999
- James, Reginald William, ed. (1911/12). The Marine Engineer and Naval Architect Volume XXXIV Vol 34.
- Stewart, Linda (2015) For sale: IFA puts historic HQ where designer of Titanic once lived on the market Belfast: Belfast Telegraph, http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/northern-ireland/for-sale-ifa-puts-historic-hq-where-designer-of-titanic-once-lived-on-the-market-34247959.html
- Travers, Sarah (2012) The woman who won the heart of Titanic's Thomas Andrews Belfast: BBC Newsline http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-17682320