The 1841 census shows that William Bell (Shipbuilder) lived at Canal Cottages with his wife Sarah and children. On 23rd October 1825 “The City” was launched at the Canal Basin. The Carlisle Journal reported: a vast concourse of people gathered about twelve o’ clock, and the place around the canal was very crowded until sunset. A bottle of ‘spirits’ was “thrown at her” immediately she hit the water to cries of “Success to the City.” Later, the company, consisting of the “principal gentlemen of the vicinity of Carlisle”, sat down to the usual “gratifying repast” singing and toasting the night away.
Lightship as tearoom off Skinburness
The City was registered at 81½ tons but could carry about 110 tons. The Bell family built seven ships in Carlisle between 1825 and 1838.
The 1841 census shows that William Bell (Shipbuilder) lived at Canal Cottages with his wife Sarah and children including Dorothy. A gravestone in Upperby cemetery remembers William Bell; son of the original Mr William Bell, who died in 1894. Dorothy, his sister, is also remembered.
In all William Bell built seven ships for the canal. His last ship (the Solway Lightship) left the canal in 1840 to take up station in the Solway. In 1920 it was decommissioned and later beached off Skinburness where it was used as a teashop and visitor attraction.
Solway lightship bell
Written by David Ramshaw
Much more detail about this can be found in my book ‘The Carlisle Ship Canal’ available online at p3publications.com , Bookends and Tullie House Museum.