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Thomas Bell (1802-1875)

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Thomas Bell (c1802-1875)

1848 Appointed Chief Superintendent of the West Hartlepool Railway and colliery branches, which position he continued to occupy until shortly before his death.

1861 Living at Norton Junction, Durham: Thomas Bell (age 59 born Lofthouse, Yks), Engineer. With his wife Barbara Bell (age 53 born Great Aycliffe) and their six children; George Bell (age 27 born Cornforth), Blacksmith; Ellington Bell (age 23 born Cornforth); Young Bell (age 21 born Norton), Engine Fitter; Alice Bell (age 19 born Norton); Hester Bell (age 18 born Norton); and Ann Bell (age 12 born Norton). Also his grandson John G. Bell (age 5 born Fleet).[1]

1875 February 20th. Died.

1875 Will. TB of the Railway Junction near Norton, Durham. Probate to William Headlam, Railway Inspector.

1875 Obituary [2]

MR. THOMAS BELL was born at Lofthouse, in the North Riding of Yorkshire, where his father, Mr. George Bell, occupied a small farm.

In early life he was employed to lead coals from Stockton and other places on the river Tees to various towns and villages in North Yorkshire, and also in connection with the Stockton and Darlington railway.

He afterwards worked as a platelayer at Chatmoss, on the Manchester and Liverpool railway, during its construction by George Stephenson.

In 1827 Mr. Bell undertook the platelaying of short lengths of the Stockton and Darlington railway as a sub-contractor under the Resident Engineer, Mr. Thomas Storey, M. Inst. C.E.

He then passed some years in Scotland in various capacities connected with the construction of the earlier Scotch lines, after which he acted, under Mr. Edward Steel, the Engineer, as General Inspector of Permanent Way on the Clarence railway, which line conveyed coals from the South Durham coal-field to Stockton and Port Clarence. Here Mr. Bell acquired, for the most part, his theoretical knowledge of civil engineering.

In 1848 he was appointed Chief Superintendent of the West Hartlepool railway and colliery branches, which position he continued to occupy until shortly before his death.

Mr. Bell's career was contemporary with the early history of railway-making in the north of England. Having been closely associated with that branch of engineering, he gained, during an industrious life, much sound practical knowledge, together with an experience in the maintenance as well as in the construction of the permanent way that well fitted him to become an Associate of the Institution of Civil Engineers, to which he was elected on the 23rd of May, 1854.

He died on the 20th of February, 1875

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