Fonds RBSC-ARC-1801 - Bennett Pell fonds

Title and statement of responsibility area

Title proper

Bennett Pell fonds

General material designation

  • Multiple media

Parallel title

Other title information

Title statements of responsibility

Title notes

  • Source of title proper: Title based on contents of fonds.

Level of description


Reference code


Edition area

Edition statement

Edition statement of responsibility

Class of material specific details area

Statement of scale (cartographic)

Statement of projection (cartographic)

Statement of coordinates (cartographic)

Statement of scale (architectural)

Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)

Dates of creation area


Physical description area

Physical description

1 album (36 photographs : b&w ; 25 x 18 cm or smaller)
1 cm of textual records

Publisher's series area

Title proper of publisher's series

Parallel titles of publisher's series

Other title information of publisher's series

Statement of responsibility relating to publisher's series

Numbering within publisher's series

Note on publisher's series

Archival description area

Name of creator


Biographical history

Bennett Pell was a worker for early telegraph companies. He oversaw the installation of telephone lines in Europe and Asia, and is credited with the invention of the Brockie-Pell arc lamp.

Pell was born in 1842 in Faversham, Kent, to James and Selnia Pell. He was trained as a telegraph clerk with the Submarine Telegraph Company in London, were he began working in 1857. Pell joined the United Kingdom Telegraph Company in 1860 and was appointed to be in charge of the Birmingham Station. In 1863 Pell became involved with the Indo-European Telegraph Department, and in 1874 he became manager of the Eastern Extension Australasia and China Telegraph Company in Singapore. He established the first telephone exchange in Singapore and in 1874 returned to England. Working with Messrs. Johns and Phillips, Pell created the Brockie-Pell arc lamp, which he formed his own company to acquire the rights to. He retired in 1898, and passed away in Exmouth on the 20th of September 1912.

Bennett Pell married Mary Pell in 1872, and together they had 5 children, Frederick Bennett Pell, William Pell, Edith Pell, Gertrude Pell, and Amy Pell.

Custodial history

Scope and content

The fonds consists of a copy of Pell's last will and testament, as well as one album containing photographs, prints, and crests collected by Pell documenting his travels in the 1870s. Many of the photographs are labelled by location, and place names include Aden, Alexandria, Batavia, Isle of Wight, Cairo, Hong Kong, Java, Marseilles, Naples, Rangoon, Singapore, and Suez. Also included in the collection is a page of crests of nobility, and two print portraits, one of Christine Nilsson and the other of Adelina Patti.

Notes area

Physical condition

Album binding has deteriorated, individual leaves should be handled with care.

Immediate source of acquisition

Records were donated by Wendy Harlock, great-grandaughter of Bennett Pell in 2018.


Language of material

Script of material

Location of originals

Availability of other formats

Restrictions on access

No access restrictions have been applied.

Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

Finding aids

Generated finding aid

Associated materials

Related materials


Alternative identifier(s)

Standard number area

Standard number

Access points

Place access points

Genre access points

Control area

Description record identifier

Rules or conventions


Level of detail

Dates of creation, revision and deletion

Description created by Claire Williams in December 2018.

Language of description

Script of description


Records in the fonds.

Accession area