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J. M. Andrews

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John M. Andrews
Andrews, c. 1920
2nd Prime Minister of Northern Ireland
In office
27 November 1940 – 1 May 1943
MonarchGeorge VI
GovernorThe Duke of Abercorn
Preceded byThe Viscount Craigavon
Succeeded bySir Basil Brooke, Bt
5th Leader of the Ulster Unionist Party
In office
24 November 1940 – 1 May 1946
Preceded byThe Viscount Craigavon
Succeeded bySir Basil Brooke
Minister of Finance
In office
21 April 1937 – 16 January 1941
Prime Minister
Preceded byHugh MacDowell Pollock
Succeeded byJohn Milne Barbour
Minister of Labour
In office
7 June 1921 – 21 April 1937
Prime MinisterThe Viscount Craigavon
Preceded byoffice established
Succeeded byDavid Graham Shillington
Member of the Northern Ireland Parliament
for Mid Down
In office
22 May 1929 – 22 October 1953
Preceded byConstituency Created
Succeeded byJack Andrews
Member of the Northern Ireland Parliament
for Down
In office
24 May 1921 – 22 May 1929
Preceded byConstituency created
Succeeded byConstituency abolished
Personal details
John Miller Andrews

(1871-07-17)17 July 1871
Comber, Ireland
Died5 August 1956(1956-08-05) (aged 85)
Comber, Northern Ireland
Political partyUlster Unionist Party
Jessie Andrews
(m. 1902; died 1950)
RelativesViscount Pirrie (uncle)
Thomas Andrews (brother)
EducationRoyal Belfast Academical

John Miller Andrews, CH, PC (Ire) (17 July 1871 – 5 August 1956) was the second prime minister of Northern Ireland from 1940 to 1943.

Family life[edit]

Andrews was born in Comber, County Down, Ireland in 1871,[1] the eldest child in the family of four sons and one daughter of Thomas Andrews, flax spinner, and his wife Eliza Pirrie, a sister of Viscount Pirrie, chairman of Harland and Wolff.

He was educated at the Royal Belfast Academical Institution. In business, Andrews was a landowner, a director of his family linen-bleaching company and of the Belfast Ropeworks.[1] His younger brother, Thomas Andrews, who died in the 1912 sinking of the RMS Titanic, was managing director of the Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast; another brother, Sir James Andrews, 1st Baronet, was Lord Chief Justice of Northern Ireland.

In 1902 he married Jessie (died 1950), eldest daughter of Bolton stockbroker Joseph Ormrod at Rivington Unitarian Chapel, Rivington, near Chorley, Lancashire, England. They had one son and two daughters. His younger brother, Sir James, married Jessie's sister.

Political career[edit]

Andrews was elected as a member of parliament in the House of Commons of Northern Ireland, sitting from 1921 until 1953 (for County Down constituency from 1921 to 1929 and for Mid-Down from 1929 to 1953). He was a founder member of the Ulster Unionist Labour Association, which he chaired, and was Minister of Labour from 1921 to 1937. He was Minister of Finance from 1937 to 1940, succeeding to the position on the death of Hugh MacDowell Pollock; on the death of Lord Craigavon, in 1940, he became leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) and the second Prime Minister of Northern Ireland.[1] Andrews was an opponent of the Irish language and called for it to be banned in schools.[2]

In April 1943 backbench dissent forced him from office.[3] He was replaced as Prime Minister by Sir Basil Brooke. Andrews remained, however, the recognised leader of the UUP for a further three years. Five years later he became the Grand Master of the Orange Order. From 1949, he was the last parliamentary survivor of the original 1921 Northern Ireland Parliament, and as such was recognised as the Father of the House. He is the only Prime Minister of Northern Ireland not to have been granted a peerage; his predecessor and successor received hereditary viscountcies, and later prime ministers were granted life peerages.

Throughout his life he was deeply involved in the Orange Order; he held the positions of Grand Master of County Down from 1941 and Grand Master of Ireland (1948–1954).[1] In 1949 he was appointed Imperial Grand Master of the Grand Orange Council of the World.[4]

John Miller Andrews as a young man, with his parents and family, including his brother Thomas

Andrews was a committed and active member of the Non-subscribing Presbyterian Church of Ireland.[5] He regularly attended Sunday worship, in the church built on land donated by his great-grandfather James Andrews in his home town Comber. Andrews served on the Comber Congregational Committee from 1896 until his death in 1956 (holding the position of Chairman from 1935 onwards). He is buried in the small graveyard adjoining the church.

He was named after his maternal great-uncle, John Miller of Comber (1795–1883).


  1. ^ a b c d Lalor, Brian, ed. (2003). The Encyclopaedia of Ireland. Dublin, Ireland: Gill & Macmillan. pp. 23–24. ISBN 0-7171-3000-2.
  2. ^ Walker, Brian M. (2012). A Political History of the Two Irelands: From Partition to Peace. Palgrave Macmillan. p. 27.
  3. ^ "NORTHERN IRELAND GETS NEW PREMIER". The New York Times. 2 May 1943. Archived from the original on 23 January 2015. Retrieved 23 January 2015. resigned after criticism from his own Unionist party with regard to the government's unemployment policy.
  4. ^ The Times, Obituary, 6 August 1956
  5. ^ Plantation of Ulster – Religious Legacy Archived 4 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine — from the BBC History website, retrieved 28 November 2006.


Parliament of Northern Ireland
New constituency Member of Parliament for Down
With: John Miller Andrews
Éamon de Valera
Thomas Lavery
Robert McBride
Thomas McMullan
Harry Mulholland
Patrick O'Neill
Constituency abolished
New constituency Member of Parliament for Mid Down
Succeeded by
First Father of the House
Succeeded by
Political offices
First Minister of Labour
Succeeded by
Preceded by Minister of Finance
Succeeded by
Preceded by Prime Minister of Northern Ireland
Succeeded by
Party political offices
Preceded by Leader of the Ulster Unionist Party
Succeeded by
Non-profit organization positions
Preceded by Grand Master of the
Orange Institution of Ireland

Succeeded by