The Pump-House and its neighbouring dry dock first opened in 1911, and form the world’s only authentic Titanic ‘landmark’. Now, Belfast drinks company Titanic Distillers has been given the green light by Belfast City Council to convert the Pump-House into a working distillery with associated visitor centre.
Included in the plans are the installation of three large stills on a mezzanine floor overlooking the original pumping engines which are situated deep in the pump-well. All the original pump equipment and associated internal historic features of the building will be retained and available to view as part of a visitor tour, and plans include an on-site ‘speakeasy’ bar and café, along with gift shop, exhibition space and tasting rooms.
“We are very excited that our planning application has been approved,” said Titanic Distillers director Richard Irwin. “Titanic Distillers is inspired by the people who worked in Belfast’s shipyard more than a century ago – and now tourists will be able to walk in their footsteps in the very pump-house and dry dock that represent such an authentic part of the Titanic story and indeed the history of Belfast.
“...The Pump-house has survived remarkably well for more than 100 years in a very harsh environment, but it is in much need of repair and any further decline would represent a major risk to its future – so, our first priority is to restore the building and bring it back to its former glory while maintaining and securing its long-term future.”
Titanic Distillers director Peter Lavery added, “...Belfast was once the largest producer of Irish Whiskey on the island of Ireland… We want to revive this great distilling tradition and bring Belfast back to the forefront of Irish whiskey production, while at the same time telling the story of a glorious past when Belfast led the way globally – not just in shipbuilding but across many areas of industry, manufacturing and innovation.”
The Titanic Pump-House is within walking distance of Titanic Belfast, the world’s biggest Titanic exhibition centre and Northern Ireland’s number-one tourist attraction, clocking up more than 800,000 visitors a year in the days before Covid-19.