The firm of Bell Brothers was established in 1844. However, Bell Brothers Limited was registered as a company limited by shares on 27th November 1873 (under the Companies Acts 1862 and 1867). The objects for which the company was established include the purchase and taking over by the company from 1 Oct 1872, all lands and mines belonging to Isaac Lowthian Bell, Thomas Bell and John Bell. The firm registered as a Joint-Stock Company under the Act of Limited Liability when they admitted as members of the firm Thomas Hugh Bell (son of Isaac Lowthian), Thomas Bell, Joshua Henry Bell and Charles Ernest Bell (sons of Thomas Bell). The total capital of the company was £1 500 000 divided into 150 000 shares of £10 each (the members having limited liability). The company would carry on all the Bell brothers' businesses as iron masters and manufacturers, collieries, lime burners and in other trades. These included ironworks at Port Clarence and Washington, land at Normanby, Skelton and Brotton, collieries and coal fields at Brancepeth, Tursdale and Hett and lime quarries at Stanhope. In July 1895, it was decided that it was desirable to reconstruct the company after a voluntary winding up. Bell Brothers had offices on Zetland Road in Middlesbrough, which were designed by architect Philip Webb in 1889. After losses in iron production in the early 1890s, the company became Incorporated under the Companies' Acts (1862 to 1890) in August 1895 and was described as being with capital of £825 000 divided into 82 500 shares of £10 each. After this reconstruction, all shares became the property of Sir Lowthian Bell and his family. Bell Brothers was also Incorporated in 1899, as it was desirable to reconstruct the company again. Dorman Long and Co. agreed to subscribe half the required capital in ordinary shares of the company, the average profits of the last three years being almost £100 000 and Mr Arthur J Dorman became a director of the company. However, it was not an amalgamation of the two companies. The firm was voluntarily liquidated in June 1901 for reconstruction and registered as a new company Bell Brothers, Limited. Sir Lowthian Bell died on 20th December 1904 and his position as chairman passed to Sir Hugh Bell. In 1923, it was proposed to amalgamate all the Companies constituting the Group under the control of Dorman Long and Company Limited, which included Bell Brothers Limited. The company therefore decided to liquidate voluntarily and re-pay all their outstanding Debenture issues. Sources: BS/BB collection; "Bell Brothers Limited", Stephen James, University of Teesside.
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