During 1861, the business Harland and Wolff was formed. Mr. Gustav Wilhelm Wolff, born in Hamburg in the year 1834, and Mr. Edward James Harland born during the year 1831, formed the business. During the year 1858 the general manager during the time, Harland, bought the small shipyard on Queen's Island. He bought the property from his employer, Richard Hickson.
Once Harland bought 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 mostly in the Bibby Line. The first 3 ships that were made by the brand new shipyard were for that line. By being inventive, Harland made the business a successful venture. One of his well-known suggestions was increasing the ship's overall strength by replacing the upper wooden decks with iron ones. In addition, he was able to increase the ship's capacity by giving the hulls a flatter bottom and a square cross section.
Harland and Wolff eventually experienced competitive pressures in regards to building ships. They sought to broaden their portfolio and shift their focus. They decided to focus more on structural design and engineering and less on shipbuilding. The business even diversified into the areas of ship repair, offshore construction projects as well as competing for more projects that had to do with construction and metal engineering.
Harland and Wolff had other interests, like a series of bridges to be built in the Republic of Ireland and in Britain. These bridges comprise the restoration of Dublin's Ha'penny Bridge and the James Joyce Bridge. In the 1980s, their first venture into the civil engineering sector occurred with the construction of the Foyle Bridge.
The MV Anvil Point was the last shipbuilding project of Harland and Wolff to date. This was among six near identical Point class sealift ships which was built to be used by the Ministry of Defense. The ship was launched in 2003, after being constructed under license from Flensburger, Schiffbau-Gesellschaft, German shipbuilders.