Jack Bell
(and Lawrence)

The two brothers, John (Jack) and Lawrence (Laurie) Bell were born in Dumbarton, four years apart, Jack the mustachioed elder in 1868. But they were not from the town. Their father, a Flesher, a butcher, had moved south from Glen Falloch, north of Loch Lomond, and their mother from Campbeltown, the couple marrying in Glasgow. 

However, the boys grew up on Dumbarton High St., Willie Thomson up the road, Alex Miller down it and all four would progress from junior football in the town to the town-team itself. Jack, as an inside-forward cum left-winger, would make fifty appearances over four years from 1888, at almost a goal a game, twice winning the Scottish League title, and Laurie, a centre-forward cum outside-right, just shy of thirty over three seasons from 1892.  

And from the Dumbarton team both brothers would head South. Indeed they were together to feature for Everton for the 1897-8 season. By then Jack had already been at Goodison Park for five seasons of what would be six plus one and been caped five times. However, with the formation in 1898 of the Association Footballers Union, the first attempt at a players' trades union, he became its President and, like several others at the club similarly involved, was sent packing. However, he would return for a season in 1901 after a brief dalliance with Spurs in the Southern League and thirty-five games back in Scotland at Celtic, two Scottish Cups and five more caps. And that was before five more seasons and still in Lancashire with an additional century of games but now at Preston and eventual retirement from playing at the age of almost forty in 1908 and after twenty-years.

Laurie's path, meanwhile, had been different and a little less distinguished. Jack's, starting whilst still at Dumbarton, had included ten caps, the last in 1900. Indeed, he had been amongst the first Anglo-Scots to be selected for the national team on the change of rules in 1896. Laurie won no caps, only a single appearance for a Scottish League XI. Nevertheless, his route through the professional game, after a brief sojourn from Dumbarton with Third Lanark, included five English clubs with notable stays at Sheffield Wednesday, where he won the FA Cup, and a hundred games at Bolton Wanderers before a return North. In fact Laurie was to settle in his wife's county of birth of Dumfriesshire. In 1902 he had married Margaret Warwick from Ruthwell between Dumfries and Annan and the couple would have two children, a girl and a boy. Indeed Lawrence, playing until 1909 and having been a tobacconist in the town, would die in Dumfries itself in 1945, she following him in 1951. He is buried in Dumfries High Cemetery.

Jack Bell's later life, however, at first proved far more difficult because of twists a and turns to trace although he would definitely settle on Merseyside. Yet, having trained as an Marine Engineer in the Dumbarton shipyards and as such early on almost taking work in Burma, in 1898 and at the height of his footballing career he is nevertheless recorded as a Liverpool stevedore. And that same year he would marry. His bride was Isabella Graham, the daughter of an Everton grocer, but one born in Scotland, as was his wife, also Isabella, she in Aberdeenshire. 

Then after Celtic again back in Liverpool in 1900 Jack Bell would open a cycle shop, some say on Scotland Road, some in Kirkdale. Yet in 1911 he briefly emigrated, to Canada and solo, there said to have returned to ship-building, his wife keeping the shop going. That is before returning in 1914 and being appointed trainer at Preston North End. It was a post he held until 1919 before retiring from the game completely and concentrating on business. On his death he would be recorded as a Confectionary Manufacturer.

The Bells were to have three children, a son and two daughters. James was born in Scotland, in Helensburgh, the two girls in Liverpool, where they all would be raised. However, Jack's eventual passing would be on the other side of the water on the Wirral in Leasowe by Wallasey in 1956 at the age of eighty-seven, Isabella predeceasing him by eight years. Both would be buried together in Anfield Cemetery. 

Birth Locator:

1868 - Ewing's Land, Church St., Dumbarton (Jack)

1871 - Croftloan (later McLeans Place), Dumbarton (Laurie)

 

Residence Locations:

1871 - Croftloan (later McLeans Place), Dumbarton (Both)

1881-91 - 121, High St., Dumbarton (Both)

1899 - 70, West Princes St., Helensburgh (Jack)

1901 - 223, Walton Rd., Liverpool (Jack)

1902 - Windsor Buildings, (Church St.,)Dumbarton (Laurie)

1911 - 60, Friars Vennel, Dumfries (Laurie)

1911 - 57, Hawthorne Rd., Liverpool (Isabella & family, Jack in Canada)

1921 - 8, Brewery St., Dumfries (Laurie)

1934 - 58, Oxford Rd., Liverpool (Jack)

1945 - "Sherbrooke", 19, Dalbeattie Rd., Dumfries (Laurie)

1956 - 20, Birket Sq., Leasowe, Cheshire (Jack)

 

Death Locator:

1945 - "Sherbrooke", 19, Dalbeattie Rd., Dumfries (Laurie)

1956 - 20, Birket Sq., Leasowe, Cheshire (Jack)

 

Grave Locator:

Dumfries High Cemetery (Laurie)

Anfield Cemetery (Jack)

 

 

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