Yeovil people

John Bell



From my collection


John Bell was born in 1845 at Silton, Dorset (just north of Gillingham), and was a carpenter and millwright by trade. By 1881 he was living in Frome and was a professional photographer with an apprentice and was still in Frome at the time of the 1891 census.

By 1896 John was living in Yeovil and was listed in the Western Gazette Almanac of that year as an 'Art photographer of Hendford'.

His studio was at Fern Bank Villa in Hendford (adjoining the Masonic Hall) but he clearly didn't stay in Yeovil very long since Jarratt Beckett took over his studio almost immediately.

By 1911 John was retired and living in Burnham on Sea where he died in 1914.




From my collection

A carte de visite by John Bell taken during the 1880s at his time in Frome before moving to Fern Bank Villa in Hendford.


John Bell's advertisement in the Western Gazette Almanac of 1896.


Courtesy of Jack Sweet

Station Road and Yeovil Town Station photographed in 1896 by John Bell. The terrace of buildings at left, still there today, is South Western Terrace built by Levi Ridout.


From my collection

The artistic back of a cabinet card by John Bell, giving both his Bath and Yeovil studio addresses. The design is typical of the early 1890s and was, perhaps, a little old-fashioned by the time this cabinet card was produced. The strip at right is where the protective tissue paper cover was attached.


From my collection

Two later cartes de visite by John Bell and, judging by the ladies' leg-of-mutton sleeves, most likely mid-1890s, when he had studios at Frome and Bath as well as Yeovil. He later had an additional studio at Barry Dock.


Courtesy of Bill and Audrey Robertson

The Town Hall photographed in 1897 when it was decorated to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria. The photograph is by John Bell of Yeovil.