Dictionary of Irish Architects 1720 - 1940

Architect and town planner, of Belfast and Lurgan. Born in 1908, Philip Bell was the eldest of four sons of a family of well-to-do Quaker linen manufacturers living and farming at Solitude, Lurgan, Co. Armagh. His mother was a daughter of Edward Walpole, creator of the gardens at Mount Usher, Co. Wicklow. Philip Bell went to school at Bootham, York, and received his architectural training at the Liverpool School of Architecture under Charles Reilly. His final year thesis design in 1930 was for a Yacht and Social Club at Six Mile Water, Antrim,(1) and for his Diploma in Civic Design a year later he produced a thesis on the Antrim Coast. On leaving Liverpool he spent a year in the office of ALFRED BRUMWELL THOMAS  ALFRED BRUMWELL THOMAS in London and then returned to Ulster to set up his own practice at Solitude, the first local architect who had a degree in architecture and planning, fully abreast with the latest developments in modern architecture. Bell was also an accomplished model maker, and his model of the proposed Belfast Municipal Sanatorium designed by ROBERT HANNA GIBSON  ROBERT HANNA GIBSON and JOHN MACGEAGH  JOHN MACGEAGH was 'much admired' when it was exhibited in the Belfast City Hall in January 1936.(2)

In 1939 Bell was joined in his practice by his younger brother ROGER HAYDOCK BELL  ROGER HAYDOCK BELL and in about 1944 by REGINALD MALCOLMSON  REGINALD MALCOLMSON who subsequently left to work in the USA,(3) to be replaced soon afterward by another planner, Henry Patton. The practice executed public housing schemes in Carrickfergus, Newtownards, Lisburn, Lurgan and Armagh and was responsible for the development plans for these towns and also for those for Dungannon and Cookstown. Philip Bell became planning officer for Armagh, Roger for Lisburn.

Although a pioneer of the modern movement in Ulster, Bell, who had had an interest in archaeology from his schooldays, also loved old buildings and was a founder member of the Historic Buildings Council in Ulster and of the Ulster Architectural Heritage Society. He was also a member of the Ancient Monuments Council. In 1940 he married Alison -, by whom he had a son and three daughters. He and his family were all keen and expert yachtsmen. For his entire life he lived at Solitude, his family home. He died at the Hammersmith Hospital, London, in 1982.

RIBA: elected associate, 1936 or earlier
RSUA: council member for 28 years; representative on the Architects Registration Council of the United Kingdom, 1965-1982; president, 1958-1961.
Royal Town Planning Institute: council member and chairman of the Irish Branch, 1974.

Addresses: Work: 18 Ocean Buildings, Donegall Sq, Belfast, 1946; 26-27 Ocean Buildings, Belfast, 1949-1961; 7 University Street, Belfast, 1973 - (practice still functioning from this address 1992).
Home: Solitude, Lurgan, Co. Armagh 1931 until death.

See WORKS; see also G.P. & R.H. BELL and BELL & MALCOLMSON. BELL & MALCOLMSON.



References

All information in this entry not otherwise accounted for is from the obituary of Bell by Robert McKinstry in RSUA Year Book (1983), 20-21 and from the thesis by Kevin John Cartin, 'The work of George Philip Bell', submitted to Queen's University of Belfast as part of the examination in Architecture, January 1986. Cartin's thesis deals in detail with Bell's work between 1933 and 1950. A photograph of Bell is in RSUA Jubilee Year Book 1951-1952, facing p. 43.

(1) AJ 76, 6 Jul 1932, 11.
(2) IB 78, 25 Jan 1936, 58.
(3) Cartin (p.49) says that Malcolmson left for America in 1948, McKinstry in 1949; however notices of buildings by Bell & Malcolmson appear in IB as late as July 1955.


12 work entries listed in chronological order for BELL, GEORGE PHILIP


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Building: CO. ARMAGH, MOYALLEN, HOUSE
Date: 1934
Nature: International Style. For - Richardson.
Refs: Obituary of G.P.Bell in RSUA Yearbook 1983, 20; Kevin John Cartin, 'The work of George Philip Bell', submitted to Queen's University of Belfast as part of the examination in Architecture, January 1986, 23-24(illus.)

Building: CO. ANTRIM, BELFAST, EDGCUMBE GARDENS, HOUSE
Date: 1934
Nature: -
Refs: IB 76, 16 Jun 1934, 517

Building: CO. ANTRIM, BELFAST, OLD DUNDONALD ROAD, HOUSE
Date: 1934-3535
Nature: International Style. For Ronald Green.
Refs: Obituary of G.P.Bell in RSUA Yearbook 1983, 20; Kevin John Cartin, 'The work of George Philip Bell', submitted to Queen's University of Belfast as part of the examination in Architecture, January 1986, 25-29(illus.)

Building: CO. DOWN, WHITEROCK, HOUSE
Date: 1935
Nature: Remodelling of existing cottage in International Style, for Judge F.A.L. Harrison; extended in early 1950s and subsequently.
Refs: Kevin John Cartin, 'The work of George Philip Bell', submitted to Queen's University of Belfast as part of the examination in Architecture, January 1986, 19,39, 41-44(illus.)

Building: CO. ANTRIM, LARNE, GLENARM ROAD, HOUSE
Date: 1935
Nature: For - Douglas.
Refs: Obituary of G.P.Bell in RSUA Yearbook 1983, 20; Kevin John Cartin, 'The work of George Philip Bell', submitted to Queen's University of Belfast as part of the examination in Architecture, January 1986, 30(illus.)

Building: CO. DOWN, WHITEROCK, HOLIDAY HOMES (004)
Date: 1935ca
Nature: International Style. One house (Dr Noble's) extended by G.P. & R.H. Bell circa 1950.
Refs: Kevin John Cartin, 'The work of George Philip Bell', submitted to Queen's University of Belfast as part of the examination in Architecture, January 1986, 35-39(illus.)

Building: CO. DOWN, WHITEROCK (KILLINCHY), STRANGFORD LOUGH YACHT CLUB HOUSE
Date: 1936-1938
Nature: New yacht Club house in International Style, replacing one destroyed by fire in Sep 1936.
Refs: IB 78, 31 Oct 1936, 990; 79, 10 Jul 1937, 633; 80, 6 Aug 1938, 647; AJ 87, 24 Mar 1938, 495(illus.); RIBAJ 48 (1940-41), xix(illus.); obituary of G.P.Bell in RSUA Yearbook 1983, 20; Sean Rothery, Ireland and the New Architecture 1900-1940 (1991), 213 (illus.); Kevin John Cartin, 'The work of George Philip Bell', submitted to Queen's University of Belfast as part of the examination in Architecture, January 1986, 31-36(illus.)

Building: CO. DOWN, KIRCUBBIN, HOUSE
Date: 1937
Nature: International Style. For W.A.B. McIliff.
Refs: Kevin John Cartin, 'The work of George Philip Bell', submitted to Queen's University of Belfast as part of the examination in Architecture, January 1986, 45-48(illus.)

Building: CO. DOWN, WHITEROCK, TEA SHOP
Date: 1937
Nature: International Style. For Miss McCann of Whiterock Farm.
Refs: Kevin John Cartin, 'The work of George Philip Bell', submitted to Queen's University of Belfast as part of the examination in Architecture, January 1986, 39-40

Building: CO. DOWN, SKETTERICK ISLAND, GOTTO HOUSE
Date: 1938
Nature: -
Refs: Obituary of G.P.Bell in RSUA Yearbook 1983, 20

Building: CO. ARMAGH, ARMAGH, MALL, HOUSE
Date: 1949
Nature: New bungalow, for - Hirsch.
Refs: Obituary of G.P.Bell in RSUA Yearbook 1983, 20; illus. in Kevin John Cartin, 'The work of George Philip Bell', submitted to Queen's University of Belfast as part of the examination in Architecture, January 1986, 77.

Building: CO. ARMAGH, ARMAGH, SCOTCH STREET, DOBBIN HOUSE (BANK OF IRELAND)
Date: 1979-81
Nature: Conversion into old people's home
Refs: Obituary of G.P.Bell in RSUA Yearbook (1983), 20; C.E.B. Brett, Buildings of County Armagh (UAHS, 1999),189

Author Title Date Details
Cartin, Kevin John 'The work of George Philip Bell', submitted to Queen's University of Belfast as part of the examination in Architecture, January 1986, 1986 Thesis submitted to Queen's University of Belfast as part of the examination in Architecture, January 1986.