Bell, John Thom (1880-1951)

Transcription of obituary published in the Minutes of Conference

JOHN THOM BELL: born at Hetton Downs in 1880. He went to work in the mines at the age of fifteen, and worked there until he went to Hartley College in 1903. He travelled for forty-five years in the following circuits: Pocklington, Howden, Hull II, Leeds I, Blyth, Crook, Rotherham, Shipley, Willenhall, Pontefract, Spennymoor, and Seaham. 

His significant work was done in connection with what is now known as the Christian Citizenship Department of our Church. He was Secretary of the Primitive Methodist Social Service Union from 1925 to 1929, of the Temperance Department from 1929 to 1932, and after Methodist Union was a member of the Temperance and Social Welfare Committee until his death. From 1932 to 1945 he was Chairman of the Industrial Relations and Social Reconstruction Standing Committees. He combined in an unusual degree an awareness of communal needs with a live and sympathetic understanding of the sorrows and conflicts of the individual. He watched over those committed to his care with loving attention. His early years of manual toil amongst those whose lives were beset by peril and often by poverty, equipped him to deal effectively with social wrongs and personal tragedy. Of a judicial type of mind, sane and balanced, he was kind, steady, and dependable, a grand man to have beside one in trouble. In all his circuits he left behind him a name for devoted and faithful service. He was a forceful preacher of wide culture, a great servant of God and his fellows. He passed away on the 6th February 1951.


John was born in 1880 at Hetton Downs, Co. Durham.

He married Mary Curry-Wood (b1886) in the summer of 1909 at Burnopfield, Co. Durham. Census returns identify one child.

  • James William (b1910)

John died on 6 February 1951.


  • Hartley
  • 1905 Pocklington
  • 1909 Howden
  • 1911 Hull II
  • 1915 Leeds II
  • 1918 Blyth
  • 1924 Crook
  • 1930 Rotherham
  • 1934 Shipley
  • 1936 Willenhall Rus St
  • 1940 Pontefract Micklegate
  • 1943 Spennymoor &c
  • 1946 Hetton


Methodist Minutes 1951/139

W Leary, Directory of Primitive Methodist Ministers and their Circuits, 1990

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

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