J. M. Andrews

The Right Honourable
John M. Andrews
Prime Minister of Northern Ireland
In office
27 November 1940  1 May 1943
Preceded by The Viscount Craigavon
Succeeded by Sir Basil Brooke, Bt.
Member of the Northern Ireland Parliament
for Mid Down
In office
22 May 1929  22 October 1953
Preceded by Constituency Created
Succeeded by Jack Andrews
Personal details
Born (1871-07-17)17 July 1871
Comber, Ireland
Died 5 August 1956(1956-08-05) (aged 85)
Comber, Northern Ireland
Nationality British
Political party Ulster Unionist Party
Spouse(s) Jessie Andrews
Children 3
Education Royal Belfast Academical
Religion Non-Subscriber

John Miller Andrews CH PC (17 July 1871 5 August 1956) was the second Prime Minister of Northern Ireland.

Family life

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 DL, flax spinner, and his wife Eliza Pirrie, a sister of Lord 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 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 (d. 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

Andrews served as a MP in the Parliament of Northern Ireland from 1921 until 1953 (for County Down constituency from 1921–29 and for Mid-Down from 1929–1953). 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; 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]

In April 1943 backbench dissent forced him from office.[2] 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 elevated to the peerage; both his successor and predecessor received hereditary viscountcies.

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.[3]

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.[4] 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. 1 2 3 4 Lalor, Brian (ed) (2003). The Encyclopaedia of Ireland. Dublin, Ireland: Gill & Macmillan. pp. 23–24. ISBN 0-7171-3000-2.
  2. "NORTHERN IRELAND GETS NEW PREMIER". New York Times. 2 May 1943. Retrieved 23 January 2015. resigned after criticism from his own Unionist party with regard to the government's unemployment policy.
  3. The Times, Obituary, 6 August 1956
  4. Plantation of Ulster - Religious Legacy from the BBC History website, retrieved 28 November 2006.


Parliament of Northern Ireland
First Father of the House
Succeeded by
Cahir Healy
New constituency Member of Parliament for Mid Down
1929 - 1953
Succeeded by
Jack Andrews
Political offices
First Minister of Labour
Succeeded by
David Graham Shillington
Preceded by
Hugh MacDowell Pollock
Minister of Finance
Succeeded by
John Milne Barbour
Preceded by
James Craig, 1st Viscount Craigavon
Prime Minister of Northern Ireland
Succeeded by
Sir Basil Brooke
Party political offices
Preceded by
James Craig, 1st Viscount Craigavon
Leader of the Ulster Unionist Party
1940 1946
Succeeded by
Sir Basil Brooke
Non-profit organization positions
Preceded by
Sir Joseph Davison
Grand Master of the
Orange Institution of Ireland

Succeeded by
William McCleery
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