Harry Bell (1905-1976)
Harry Bell was the youngest in a family of six. His father had a men's hairdressing business and the family lived above the shop under the shadow of steelworks and blast furnaces. Harry was disabled from birth, being paralysed down one side, lame in his foot and almost blind. When he was just six months old his mother took him to visit some friends whose home overlooked South Shields Harbour. Among the guests was a ship's captain and his wife. They were childless and were very interested in baby Bell. The captain took little Harry on his knee and examined his defects thoroughly. He then turned to Mrs. Bell and said, "Poor little man and poor little mother but what a man he is going to be one day." Mrs. Bell confessed that these were the first words of comfort she had had since Harry's birth.
The Bells would not have been surprised if they had lost their last baby. They were afraid that they would never see him grow up. Shortly after that incident, the doctor persuaded them to move house since there was nearly always one of them ill in those depressing surroundings. Apart from the health hazards, they were so close to the works that they were aware of every accident in the works; accidents which happened to people they knew and which resulted in their friends being left maimed or families being left fatherless.
Little Harry was growing up and he had a prodigious memory. This in some measure compensated for his other serious disabilities. His mother was a believer but not yet his father. His maternal grandfather was in fellowship at Abbey Road Assembly in Barrow on the opposite coast of England. When grandpa came to visit he told Bible stories to little Harry's great delight.
Harry had to be taken to and from school by big sister Kate. When he moved into junior school his big brother Tom took charge of getting him around. He could be as inattentive as the next one at school and one day when teacher spotted him talking when somebody else was reading he said, "You read next, Bell." Harry picked up his book and commenced where the last boy had finished off. When he reached the end of the paragraph he asked, "Shall I read on, sir?" The teacher, who expected to catch him out, at first said no and then yes. Harry went through another paragraph and again asked, "Shall I read on, sir?" Teacher, irritated by now, shouted, "No, Bell, stand still" and came to inspect the book, only to discover that it was upside down! He had never read the book before but every word was firmly implanted in his memory as he had heard the others read it aloud. That was the kind of photographic memory he possessed which greatly helped him in view of the fact that his writing was scarcely intelligible either to himself or to others.
The same teacher was taking the scripture lesson with the class. As he read Acts 16:31, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved," nine-year-old Harry believed and was saved there and then.
Harry and Tom frequently visited their father's barber's shop on their way home from school. One day while they were there a gentleman called for a haircut. Afterwards he asked if nothing had ever been done for Harry's eyes. The gentleman turned out to be an optician. Harry's father explained that he was unable to get anything done as Harry's sight was so bad. The optician was anxious to help Harry and took him home that very day, bringing him back later complete with glasses. This opened up a new world of books to the boy.
Harry continued at school but his career was interrupted by frequent illnesses, so much so that he missed scholarships. An accident at school prevented him sitting for senior scholarship. The headmaster wanted him to pursue an academic career but without outside help that was beyond the family's means.
Harry therefore left school and commenced working in his father's shop. There were many things that he could not do but he could be lather. He had not yet committed himself to the Lord and was flirting with the world. He was a keen follower of football and boxing and had acquired a considerable knowledge of both. As he was entering a cinema when he was 17 years old the Lord convicted him of his worldly ways and he committed his whole life to the Lord. At the age of 18 he was baptised and followed his family into the Hebburn assembly.
His eldest brother had gone there first. He persuaded their dad to go and hear the gospel. He was saved after his wife had prayed for him for 21 years. The rest of the family then ceased attending a mission hall and became identified with the assembly. Harry followed and enjoyed all of the assembly's activities.
He enjoyed Sunday School work and open air work. Crowds came to listen to the gospel in the open air in those days. Soon after this, the family moved to Jarrow-on-Tyne and Harry threw himself wholeheartedly into the assembly's work. He came to be greatly loved in the town and it was a sight to see him walking along the street to the hall on a Sunday evening. Every woman would be standing at her door to be greeted by Harry's hearty, "Good evening" repeated as he raised his hat to each. It was just how he behaved after meetings all over the country, no matter how many people were there for him to greet. The children too would run to take him by hand or arm to escort him to the hall.
Harry was always willing to help any assembly, no matter how small. When the Second World War came, the burden of Sunday School work fell on his shoulders and those of a few sisters. But the time had almost arrived for Harry to take his next step forward. It was in 1943 that he stepped out into full-time service for the Master. He had thirty years in which to enjoy himself in the Lord's work before blindness finally overtook him.
His journeyings took him to all parts of the British Isles. He had so often to be helped on to the platform. One brother recalls his appearance on the platform—a striking figure, head and shoulders thrust forward in eagerness, feet heavy and dragging. But once Harry got going he was like a hind let loose and his ringing voice filled the hall.
He ranged over all the scriptures in his ministry. He carried all his knowledge of them in his head. That explains how often he seemed to follow what had been given before as if he had not brought something else of his own to give. Harry was so full of matter that he found it difficult not to follow on. Did the other speakers at the conference speak on the Psalms - then Harry would speak on a Psalm. Did another speaker speak on Moses all weekend there was still enough left in the subject for Harry to give a concluding message on Moses.
Albert Leckie tells of Harry agreeing to take part in a series of Saturday evening meetings which would consider Bible characters. Harry chose to speak on David but his writing was so illegible that it was understood that he would speak on Daniel. Harry picked up this piece of information as he listened to the opening prayer. So he promptly spoke on Daniel.
All his life Harry had no sense of direction. Many a tale is told of dates that miscarried and of arrangements that worked out well, in the end. He arrived in a certain town only to find that he had neither the name nor address of the corresponding brother with him. He therefore left the railway station, lifting up his heart to the Lord to guide him. He finally knocked on a door to be greeted with, "Welcome, Mr. Bell."
Another time he was completely lost in Birmingham. He had a phone number to call in just such an emergency. He stepped into a telephone kiosk and rang the number. The brother at the other end asked him to read the address of the kiosk only to discover that Harry was in his own street. He daren't risk leaving him to find the way but went to collect him. Even in his nearby city of Newcastle, Harry was frequently lost.
He was never very happy about air travel, but he had to do it within the British Isles before the one Transatlantic crossing he made just shortly before he became blind. Harry's fellow-traveller remarked that as the plane was nearing journey's end they would soon be on terra firma. Harry's retort to this one was, "And the more firma the less terra." Harry did have a sense of humour and was quick in repartee. He was sitting in a local bus one day reading his Bible when a boy asked, "Mister, are the half-time results in there?" Quick as lightning, Harry replied, "No, but the final is."
But the blindness with which Harry was threatened for so long finally caught up with him. His beloved books had to be laid aside. When he ventured out he had to be led. He was a truly wonderful servant of God, who triumphed over great adversity. He finally laid his burden down in the year 1976.
All messages by Harry Bell, All messages in English
|Speaker||Title and Tags||Date||Place||Lang|
|Bell, Harry||1 Corinthians 15:20-34 ~ 1 Cor 15 1Corinthians||unavailable||unavailable|
|Bell, Harry||1 Corinthians 3 ~ 1 Cor 3 1Corinthians||unavailable||unavailable|
|Bell, Harry||Consecration Of The Priests ~ Lev 8||unavailable||unavailable|
|Bell, Harry||Early Witnesses To The Lord ~ Matt 2||unavailable||unavailable|
|Bell, Harry||Fear Of The Lord ~ Mal 1_6||unavailable||unavailable|
|Bell, Harry||Gleanings Trumpets Day Of Atonement ~ Lev 23||unavailable||unavailable|
|Bell, Harry||I Know That My Redeemer Liveth ~ Job 19 Job||unavailable||unavailable|
|Bell, Harry||Isaiah 4 ~ Lurgan Isaiah||unavailable||unavailable|
|Bell, Harry||John 8-14 ~ Lurgan||unavailable||unavailable|
|Bell, Harry||Jude 17:25 ~ Jude 17 Jude||unavailable||unavailable|
|Bell, Harry||Ministry From 1 Corinthians 1 ~ 1 Cor 1 1Corinthians||unavailable||unavailable|
|Bell, Harry||Ministry From 1 Corinthians-01 ~ 1 Cor 5:1-13 1Corinthians||unavailable||unavailable|
|Bell, Harry||Ministry From 1 Corinthians-02 ~ 1 Cor 9:1-27 1Corinthians||unavailable||unavailable|
|Bell, Harry||Ministry From 1 Thessalonians-01 ~ 1 Thes Chapter 2 1Thessalonians||unavailable||unavailable|
|Bell, Harry||Ministry From 1 Thessalonians-02 ~ 1 Thes Chapter 3 1Thessalonians||unavailable||unavailable|
|Bell, Harry||Ministry From 1 Thessalonians-03 ~ 1 Thes Chapter 4 1Thessalonians||unavailable||unavailable|
|Bell, Harry||Ministry From 1 Thessalonians-04 ~ 1 Thes Chapter 5 1Thessalonians||unavailable||unavailable|
|Bell, Harry||Ministry From Colossians-01 Colossians||unavailable||unavailable|
|Bell, Harry||Ministry From Colossians-02 Colossians||unavailable||unavailable|
|Bell, Harry||Ministry From Colossians-03 Colossians||unavailable||unavailable|