Harland and Wolff - Shipbuilding and Engineering Works

Robert John Welch (1859 - 1936)

Robert Welch was born in Strabane on 22 July 1858 and lived for a time in Enniskillen. He developed an early interest in photography from his father who operated as a professional photographer from 1863 until his untimely death in 1875. In that year he went to Belfast to train as a professional photographer under E. T. Church.

In 1900, he was awarded a Royal warrant for his work from Queen Victoria, one of only 10 photographers outside the British Isles to receive this honour. He was commissioned by the Royal Commission of Enquiry in 1886 to record the damage caused in Belfast after the anti-Home Rule riots of that year. He was appointed official photographer to the firm of Harland & Wolff (c1894-1920), and the Belfast Ropeworks Co. He lectured and contributed many papers and illustrations to a variety of natural history publications throughout his life. He was a member of the Royal Irish Academy, President of the Belfast Naturalists' Field Club, and President of the Conchological Society of Great Britain and Ireland. In 1923 he had an honorary doctorate conferred upon him by Queen's University, Belfast. In 1927 the Northern Ireland Parliament granted him a civil pension of £100 a year.

Born: 22 July 1859 - Died: 28 November 1936

[Patrick Devlin - The Dictionary of Ulster Biography]