Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Bell, Thomas (1785-1860)

BELL, THOMAS (1785–1860), antiquary, was the son of Richard Bell, of Newcastle-on-Tyne, and was born at that town 16 Dec. 1785. For many years he followed the business of land valuer and surveyor. He was a diligent antiquary and the collector of an extensive library, which was dispersed at Newcastle after his death. Though he left no published writing, his library was enriched by his manuscript genealogical and antiquarian compilations, and he assisted most of the local topographical writers of his day in their undertakings. The Rev. John Hodgson was much aided by him in the 'History of Northumberland.' He was a promoter of the Newcastle Literary and Philosophical Society, and one of the founders of the Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle, and continued to take an active interest in both societies as long as he lived. He died in his native town 30 April 1860, aged 74.

[Gent. Mag. August 1860, p. 196; Sale Catalogue of the Bell Library, 1860; J. G. Bell's Descendants of John of Gaunt, 1855.]

C. W. S.