Author Archive

New ITV video coverage of the Restoration of The Joseph Bell Memorial

March 29, 2014

ITV have published a short video showing the restoration of the Joseph Bell Memorial and a few words from Ann Freer who lives in Joseph Bell’s house. Click to view the video.

Newly Available eBook Version of ‘Tarn to Titanic’ Biography of Joseph Bell

March 29, 2014

The success of the fund raising paperback biography of Joseph Bell titled ‘Tarn to Titanic: Life & Times of Joseph Bell Chief Engineer’ in Autumn 2013, has persuaded us to make the biography accessible now as a PDF [Portable Document Format] from this website for, in particular, English speaking individuals from around the world who regularly visit this site and would otherwise have no access to the title. In receiving the biography with a donation to the ‘Joseph Bell Memorial Appeal,’ it will be helping with the conservation of his only memorial situated in Farlam, his birthplace, in Cumbria.

To download and read the eBook click here.

Front Page

Front Page

Hallbankgate School

April 23, 2012

The village school made a contribution to the memorial service for Joseph Bell. I have added some illustrations made by the children which were on display at the memorial service. The page is here.

Cumbria County Libraries, Posters and Bookmarks

March 22, 2012

The Cumbria Country Council have designed posters for their libraries to advertise the local links to the area. You can view the posters below (click on them to enlarge) or view them in PDF here and the bookmarks here.

Memorial Service on April 15th

February 26, 2012

A memorial service will be held at St Thomas a Becket Church, Farlam, CA8 1JR, on April 15th 2012, at 2.00 p.m.

Musical accompaniment by the Brampton & District Silver Band, playing hymns & music performed by the titanic musicians.

An exhibition of titantic artifacts will be on show in the church. Tea will be provided after the service and the Joseph Bell memorial gravestone can be visited in the cemetery.

More photos

February 26, 2012

Cumbria County Council “Your Cumbria” excerpt

February 21, 2012

Cumberland News Coverage of a new film about the Engineers of the Titanic

February 20, 2012

A film about the Titanic’s doomed voyage will be a memorial to the bravery of one of Cumbria’s unsung heroes and those who died alongside him.

Joseph Bell photo

Joseph Bell, from Farlam, near Brampton, was the ship’s 51-year-old chief engineer when it sank on April 15, 1912, claiming more than 1,500 lives.

Legend has it that he and others refused to desert their posts as they battled to keep the stricken vessel afloat and to maintain power right up to the last minute. Saving the Titanic is the first feature-length HD drama documentary to focus on the work of the men below deck.

Irish filmmaker Keith Farrell, its creator and co-producer, said: “I hope it will reawaken people’s interest in Joseph Bell because he really is the hero of this story.

Full story at the Cumberland News here:

Full details of the new film here:

Letter calling for a Carlisle Memorial

February 20, 2012


Many people in the northwest of England and nationally, will on April 15th the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic, wonder why Carlisle County Council has failed to honour in any public way over the last 100 years the Cumberland born heroic Chief Engineer of the Titanic, Joseph Bell, born 1861 in Farlam, nr Brampton. In the early 1870’s Joseph and his family moved to Stanwix, Carlisle where he continued his education.

Recognizing and distinguishing this Cumbrian hero in this centenary year in a more permanent way is long overdue in Carlisle. Cumbria County Council have an opportunity in spite of any other priorities, to express their respect and honour on behalf of us all in the County of his birth, Cumbria.

Joseph Bell and his engineers stayed at their posts in the engine room till the ship sank into the ocean, and as a consequence of their collective courage and self-sacrifice saved many hundreds of lives.  Their heroic action in sustaining the functioning of electrical power, keeping the lights burning, and wireless going enabled the life- boats to function too.

This unsung engineer Joseph Bell and his fellow engineers have memorials to them in Southampton, and at the Pier Head in Liverpool, but why is he so shamefully neglected in Cumbria’s Carlisle?  Please let Cumbria put matters to right in this centenary year and honour him in his own land.

Barrie Bell Hodgson,

Extract from: ‘Every Man for Himself’ by Beryl Bainbridge, 1996. Duckworth

February 20, 2012

“The orchestra had decamped to the deck outside. And in spite of the cold the cellist wore no gloves and I marveled that he managed to hold his bow so steady on the strings.  There was terrible confusion below, the passageways jammed with people, their possessions stowed in pillowcases slung across their shoulders.  In the public lounge an untidy circle of men and women surrounded a priest reciting the rosary

Coming to a bend in the passage near the dormitories, we had to flatten ourselves against the tiled wall as a dozen or more stokers, faces black with grease and some carrying shovels, swept headlong past.  I couldn’t help contrasting their subterranean hell with the Eden above, where, under the twinkling stars, they paced to the swoon of violins.

I was told that once on the boat deck to climb the companionway up to the officers’ house which was forward of the first funnel.  There were seamen on the roof, struggling to release the collapsible.  I could hear the orchestra which was playing rag-time to raise our spirits then the orchestra changed tune and struck up a hymn, it was a favourite … E’en though it be a cross that raiseth me, Still all my song shall be, Nearer my God to Thee, Nearer to Thee.

And now, the moment was almost upon us.  The stern began to lift from the water.  The hymn turned ragged; ceased altogether.  The musicians scrambled upwards, the spike of the cello scraping the deck.  Clinging to the rung of the ladder I tried to climb to the roof but there was such a sideways slant that I waved like a flag on a pole.  I thought I must make a leap for it.  The water, first slithering, then tumbling, over us.

The ship staggered and tipped, a great volume of water flowed over the submerged bows and tossed me like a cork to the roof.  My fingers touched some kind of bolt near the ventilation grille, and I grabbed it tight.  I filled my lungs with air and fixed my eyes on the blurred horizon, determined to hang on until I was sure I could float free rather than be swilled back and forth in a maelstrom.  I wouldn’t waste my strength in swimming, not yet, for I knew the ship was now my enemy and if I wasn’t vigilant would drag me with her to the grave.

I waited for the next slithering dip and when it came and the waves rushed in and swept me higher, I released my grip and let myself be carried away, over the tangle of ropes and wires and davits, clear of the rails and out into the darkness.  I heard the angry roaring of the dying ship, the deafening cacophony as she stood on end and all her guts tore loose.  I choked on soot and cringed beneath the sparks dancing like fire-flies as the forward funnel broke and smashed the sea in two.  I was sucked under, as I knew I would be, down, down, and still I waited, waited until the pull slackened – then I struck out with all my strength.

I don’t know how long I swam under that lidded sea – time had stopped with my breath – and just as it seemed as if my lungs would burst the blackness paled and I kicked to the surface.  I had thought I was entering paradise, for I was alive and about to breathe again”

This image of Beryl Bainbridge, was taken for The Observer article on the publication of her new title ‘Everyman for Himself’ in 1996, of which the extract above refers.

BB Everyman for himself.jpg