Steel Heroes - Sir Isaac Lowthian Bell

  • 1816 - 1904
  • 1st Baronet 1885
  • FRS 1875
  • First Bessemer Medallist 1874
  • Cross of the Legion of Honour (from France)
  • George Stephenson Medal  1900 (ICE)
  • President ISI 1873-5
  • President I Mech E 1884
  • President of the Iron Trades Ass’n 1886
  • President of Inst of Mining Engineers 1904
  • First President of the Newcastle Chemical Society
  • Member of the Royal Society
  • Member if the Inst of Civil Engineers
  • Partner of Bell Bros, Port Clarence
  • Director of the North Eastern Railway and
  • Chairman of their Locomotive Committee
  • Lord Mayor of Newcastle-upon-Tyne
  • 1854-5 and 1862-3
  • Justice of the Peace
  • Deputy Lieutenant, County of Durham
  • High Sherriff County of Durham 1884
  • MP North Durham 1874 and
  • MP for Hartlepool 1875-1880
  • Albert Medal of the Royal Soc. of Arts 1895


Sir Isaac was in partnership with his younger brother John in the company of Bell Bros, who were largely responsible for developing the ironstone field of Cleveland.  ​

Bell Brothers operated twelve blast furnaces at Port Clarence by 1877.  ​

The company also operated ironstone mines, limestone quarries and collieries. Around £1 million in capital was invested in the business. ​

Sir Lowthian Bell produced many papers and several books on the production of iron, and reviews of practices worldwide.  ​

In 1872 he published “Chemical Phenomena of Iron Smelting”; in 1884 “The Principles of the Manufacture of Steel”; and in 1886 “The Iron Trade of the United Kingdom compared with other Chief Ironmaking Nations”​

Bell Brothers started the first works in England for the manufacture of Aluminium, and were also pioneers in salt manufacture from mined rock salt.​

Rounton Grange, built by ILB in the 1870’s, demolished by 1954.


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