|Active Dates:||circa 1864 - circa 1952|
North and Central America (continent)
Windward Islands (island group)
Lesser Antilles (island group)
West Indies (archipelago)
Sri Lanka (nation)
South Africa (nation)
United Kingdom (nation)
Great Britain (island)
British Isles (island group)
Middle East (region (general))
Holy See (nation)
Italian Peninsula (peninsula)
Leeward Islands (island group)
Mascarene Islands (island group)
Bermuda (dependent state)
Bahama Islands (island group)
Antigua and Barbuda (nation)
Indian Ocean (ocean)
|Likenesses:||See Y3011F - 'Photographs of myself 1866 - circa 1940'.|
|Photographs:||See list of photographs|
A prolific author, Bellís published work includes memoirs, imaginative fiction and colonial history and administration. The most important of these are:
Bell, H.H.J. (1889), 'Obeah: witchcraft in the West Indies', London: S. Low, Marston, Searle and Rivington, limited.
Bell, H.H.J. (1893), 'A witchís legacy', London.
Bell, H.H.J. (1893), 'The history, trade, resources, and present condition of the Gold Coast settlement: address delivered to the section in the board room of the chamber on the 1st May, 1893', Liverpool: 'Journal of Commerce' Printing Works.
Bell, H.H.J (1894), 'Outlines of the Geography of the Gold Coast Colony and Protectorate. Compiled for use in the colonial schools', London: Sampson, Low and Co.
Bell, H.H.J. (1911), 'Love in black', London.
Bell, H.H.J. (1928), 'Foreign colonial administration in the Far East', London: E. Arnold.
Bell, H.H.J. (1946), 'Glimpses of a governor's life: from diaries, letters, and memoranda', London: S. Low, Marston and Co., Ltd.
Bell, H.H.J. (1948), 'Witches and fishes', London: Edward Arnold.
In addition, Bell was a tireless contributor to newspapers, journals and magazines.
|Related Entries:||None found.|
Sir Henry Hesketh Joudou Bell was born at Chambery in the Savoie district of south-east France on December 17th 1864. Bell was privately educated in the Channel Islands, and in Paris and Brussels. In 1882 a family friend Sir William Robinson offered him the post of third clerk in the office of the Governor of Barbados and the Leeward Islands and he arrived in Barbados in May of that year. In the following year he transferred to the Grenada Inland Revenue Department and worked there until 1889. After an unsuccessful attempt to find employment under the Egyptian Government, Bell was Supervisor of Customs in the Gold Coast from 1890-94, when he became Receiver General and Treasurer of the Bahamas. After applying for the administratorship of the Seychelles in 1899, he was offered St. Kitts-Nevis, but later agreed to serve in Dominica where he was administrator from 1899-1906. It was during this period that Bell started his experimental plantation Sylvania (see Y3011D/93), evolved a system of hurricane insurance, and continued his researches into witchcraft in the West Indies. Bell left the West Indies in 1906 to take up the post of Commissioner of the Uganda Protectorate (a title changed to Governor in the following year) and his period there was memorable for his development of the cotton industry and near-eradication of sleeping sickness in the country around Lake Victoria (see Y3011D/22-25).
He was promoted in 1909 to the Governorship of Northern Nigeria and it was during this term of office that his career received a lasting setback. Since Lugardís time it had been agreed that no missionaries should take up residence in and around Kano, but with the development of the administration and the coming of the railway to the town, the Church Missionary Society again sought permission to extend their activities in the area. Bell discussed the question with the newly-appointed Secretary of State for the Colonies Lewis Harcourt while on leave in London in 1911, and came away with the impression that the question was open. Before leaving England however, a letter was delivered to him explicitly forbidding any change in policy until further investigations had been made. This letter Bell packed unread in his suitcase and forgot about for several months, by which time reports were reaching the Colonial Office of missionary activity in Kano. Harcourtís anger at what he took to be a deliberate disobedience of his instructions resulted in Bellís transfer to the Leeward Islands, a governorship of lesser rank, salary and responsibility than Bell might reasonably have expected after his previous posts. Further arguing of his case led nowhere, even a request to petition the King over his grievances being turned down, although Harcourt did agree 'to lay at the foot of the Throne' any 'proper Memorial' from Bell, 'with my advice to His Majesty in regard to it'. Bell remained in the Leeward Islands from 1912-16, when he was made Governor of Mauritius, a post he held until his retirement in 1924.
After his retirement Bell lived in Cannes but travelled widely and in 1925-26 made an extensive semi-official tour of the Far East to study French and Dutch systems of colonial government. The resulting book, 'Foreign colonial administration in the Far East' (1928), was awarded the Gold Medal of the Royal Empire Society. During the Second World War, Bell returned to live in the Bahamas, but was a frequent visitor to London and died there on 1st August 1952.
Bell compiled a number of albums containing photographs (Y3011C-K, M and N). He also painted a number of water-colours (Y3011L).