Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Isaac Dell

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of John Street, Bristol

1849 Advert: For sale by auction: 'Lot 2.—A Convenient MESSUAGE or Dwelling-House, Shop, and Premises, (with handsome Plate Glass Shop-front), Numbered 15, in St. John-Street, and adjoining the last Lot, late in the possession of Mr. Isaac Dell, Clock and Watch Maker, but now of Mr. George Tonkin, Tailor and Draper, as his sub-tenant,....'[1]

1866 Advert: 'NOTICE is hereby given that the PARTNERSHIP subsisting between us, the undersigned BARTON DELL and ISAAC DELL, as Watch, Clock, Lathe, and Tool Makers, at Nos. 43 and 44, BROAD-STREET, in the city of Bristol, under the style or Firm of DELL BROTHERS, has been DISSOLVED by mutual consent, and that the business will in future be carried on by the said ISAAC DELL, under the style or Firm of DELL and Co., and that he will pay and receive all moneys due from or to the late Firm.-Dated this Twenty-fifth day of June, 1866.
Witness to the signature

'SEARLE vs. DELL—The plaintiff, a hairdresser, carrying on business in Broad Street, sued the defendant, a general mechanist, for damage sustained through the negligent use of a warehouse on the part of the defendant. Mr. Elletson, who appeared for the plaintiff, said that the defendant had a warehouse above the plaintiff's hair-cutting room. Some time prior to February the plaintiff complained to the defendant, who had heavy machinery in his warehouse, of water percolating through the floor of his warehouse and thus damaging his (plaintiff's) ceiling. In February the ceiling fell down, plaintiff alleged, in consequence of the damage occasioned it by the leakage of water from the defendant’s warehouse. The plaintiff contended that the defendant's premises were not properly adapted to the purposes for which they were used, and that if he wished to carry on such a business he should go elsewhere. His Honour asked for authority to the liability of the defendant. Mr. Elletson referred his Honour to a case where it was shown that in consequence of a warehouse being overloaded the floor gave way and fell down and injured the goods belonging to the plaintiff, and it was held that he had good ground of action. The case was mentioned in Addison. His Honour said he must have the authority—not the text book. Mr. Elletson then quoted the case of Edwards v. Allendar in support of his contention. The plaintiff was called, and stated that he had often complained of the working of the machinery and the fall of water, and said that when the fall of the ceiling took place upwards of 8 cwt. of ceiling, steel filings, &c., came down upon a glass case and other goods which he had in his room. Some time after the ceiling fell the defendant went into the plaintiff's house to see the amount of damage, and then he remarked, "This is something beyond a joke." The plaintiff sent in a charge of £5 for damage done, but afterwards charged £2 extra tor damage to gas brackets which was overlooked at the time. The entire bill now was £10 0s 9d. The ceiling was in good condition until the water came through. Mr. Stonehouse Vigor (instructed by Messrs Henderson and Salmon) appeared for the defendant, and cross-examined the plaintiff about the repairs which he had done to his premises. He said that for 22 years he had never done anything to the ceiling except papering. Mr. Dell was in occupation of his premises before (plaintiff) became tenant. Sometimes as much two bucketsful of water had come down through the ceiling, and that part of the ceiling fell through where the water had come. A grindstone was used in the defendant's room, and water had flown through the trough underneath it. He (plaintiff) used hair-brushing machinery, and the spindle on which the wheels revolved was affixed to the rafters of the ceiling, but in a different part of the room to where the accident occurred. John Allen, George Hill (an assistant to Searle), and Edmund Reynolds gave confirmatory evidence. Reynolds said he was formerly in the employ of defendant. In the room above plaintiff's hair-cutting room there were four lathes for making taps. They were heavy machines, and sometimes shook the room. He had frequently seen the water running from the trough of the grindstone, and had heard Mr Dell come and complain to the foreman (Mr Peacock) of the water running, and say that the ceiling would fall in. For the defence Mr. Vigor stated that the defendant had been in the house for a considerable number of years. The house is a very old one, and the whole of the framework was in a more or less decayed state, simply from age. The defendant had put in supports upon his premises, and he had advised the plaintiff to do the same. The grindstone in question had been there for about twenty years, and, even supposing that there was any overflow of water from the trough, there was a second trough on the floor to catch it. The defendant (Mr Isaac Dell) stated that he had occupied the premises in question for about twenty-five years. The two troughs of the grindstone—or, rather, the trough and the tray underneath—were covered with zinc. He had often gone into the room, but had never seen the water overflowing upon the floor. Occasionally the plaintiff had complained of water going through his ceiling, and then he had gone into the room, and had been told that one the of the men had upset his tea-can. He never told his foreman that the weight the machinery was too heavy, but told him that he must be careful, and not to create more noise than was necessary. In the cross-examination the defendant stated that the house appeared to have been built for a dwelling-house. He could not tell how much he had spent in the repairs of the house since he had been in occupation. There was no hole in the zinc of the trough of the grindstone through which the water could run, and the grindstone did not stand over the spot where the ceiling fell. Re-examined: The heavy work was carried on in his own yard. George Peacock (the defendant's foreman), Joseph Peacock, Charles Kelly (a workman), and James Painter (a builder), were called in corroboration of the defendant's case, and their evidence was favourable to the theory that the ceiling fell from natural decay. His Honour, after hearing the whole of the case - which lasted several hours—gave judgment for the plaintiff.' [3]

1898 'During the past fortnight there has dropped out of the ranks of the Society of Friends in Bristol a notable figure in the person of Mr Isaac Dell, whose death occurred on the 6th inst. at Hampton park. Mr. Dell, who was eighty-four years of age, was the founder of the well-known business in Broad street, known as Dell and Co., watch and clock manufacturers. The business was first started in John-street in 1830, and more than half a century ago it was removed to the present site in Broad street. For some years Mr Dell had associated with him his brother. Mr Barton Dell, another notable personality amongst members of the Society of Friends. But Mr Barton Dell died about fourteen years ago. Mr Isaac Dell was a regular attendant at the Friends' Meeting House, and was actively engaged in the city frequently till about Christmas last, when the weakness of advancing age began to tell upon him, and at the beginning of the present month he was confined to his bed and died as stated. Within a fortnight of his death he lost one of his daughters, Miss Dell, who was buried just a week before he hiniself was interred at the Friends' Burial ground. He leaves one daughter, unmarried, and a son, who is abroad. At his funeral there was a representitive assemblage of members of the Society of Friends, including Mr James Grace, who with others gave a suitable address at the graveside. The deceased had retired from his busincss, about nine years ago, which has since been carried on by Mr W. J, Elsworthy, who had been with him in the business upwards of twenty years.'[4]

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. Bristol Times and Mirror - Saturday 15 September 1849
  2. Bristol Mercury - Saturday 30 June 1866
  3. Western Daily Press - Wednesday 13 August 1873
  4. Bristol Mercury - Wednesday 23 February 1898