Saturday, October 12, 2013
Souvenir Saturday: Miss Bell
Of all the most tantalising items there can be nothing to beat an unidentified, or mis-identified, photograph. A handwritten note on the back of the above photo claims that the winsome young lady is Miss Bell, 'a sister of Captain William Bell'.
This is hardly likely, as her costume tells us she is of a much later generation than Captain Bell's (he was born in 1807). There is, however, some family resemblance, reinforced by a companion photograph showing a Mr Bell who certainly could be a close relative of the Captain, though again of a later date.
For the moment, Miss Bell remains a mystery lady. The 1871 Census for Drumburgh, Bowness-on-Solway, shows Thomas Bell (the Captain's father), a widower aged 87, and blind. The other occupants of the house are Elizabeth, granddaughter, aged 38, unmarried, and a grandson, John. It was tempting to consider this Elizabeth as a contender for the Miss Bell in the photo portrait, but the date and age simply do not fit. Back to the drawing board ...