Plan of Bellingham, Fair Green in 1836.
This item comes from the extensive collection of plans etc. produced by Bell and Sons Surveyors and Land Agent's of Gateshead, County Durham.
John Bell [born 11th February 1755 died 12th January 1816] trained as a land surveyor under John Fryer, who produced the 1820 map of Northumberland. John set up his own business in 1794 as a bookseller and surveyor. His two eldest sons took over the business; John Bell [born 7th October 1783 died 31st October 1864] was mostly interested with books, and Thomas Bell [born 16th December 1785 died 39th April 1860] with surveying and land agency.
As surveyors and valuers the Bells were often engaged as commissioners or, surveyors on the enclosure of common and wastelands in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. They were also heavily involved in the surveying of the Tithe maps following an Act of Parliament in 1836.
These commissions and their other work concerned with the construction of railways and public works and as agents to notable landed families, notably the Duke of Northumberland, gave the Bells an unrivalled knowledge of the land and local history.
As a result of their undertakings the Bells built up an extensive collection of material. Thomas Bell was also a keen genealogist and the Reverend John Hodgson extensively used his pedigrees and family histories when he wrote the History of Northumberland in 1828.