Bell, Matthew

BELL, Matthew (1820-1880), builder, stone carver and architect, was active in Guelph, Ont. where his talent as a stone sculptor can be found in the carved heads incorporated into the facades of several Guelph buildings including 'Moreton Hall' the residence of F.W. Stone, located on the grounds of the Ontario Agricultural College, built c. 1855; demol. 1928. The portico of the house with Bell's carving was still standing on the campus in 1955. Bell was also awarded the contract for the carved stonework on the Guelph City Hall (1856-57, designed by William Thomas), and he later executed the stone carving on the facade of the Bank of Montreal, St. George's Square, 1858; demol. 1962. Born at Newcastle-on-Tyne, Northumberland Co., England in March 1820, Bell arrived in Guelph c. 1850 and operated a stone quarry. Both he and his sons worked as building contractors and each commission furnished Bell with an opportunity to incorporate examples of his stone artistry into the exterior facade. Among his last works was to join Joseph Connolly in a collaborative effort to construct the apsidal chapels within Immaculate Conception Roman Catholic Church in Guelph (1876-88). Bell died in Guelph on 28 June 1880 while working on the church and was buried in St. Joseph's Catholic Cemetery where his gravesite is marked by a monument which Bell had earlier designed and carved himself (inf. Gordon Couling, Guelph; Charlotte, Guelph)

(works in Guelph unless noted)

WATER STREET, a residence for the architect, 1853 (Guelph, Designated Buildings of Architectural and Historical Interest 1977-1981, 13, illus.)
MANOR PARK CRESCENT, 'Wells Grove', a residence for Arthur Wells, 1857; altered 1990 (Toronto Star, 13 Oct. 1990, H1, illus.)
WOOLWICH STREET, residence for an unnamed client, 1858-59 (Guelph, Designated Buildings of Architectural and Historical Interest 1977-1981, 15, illus.)
ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH, major addition of a chancel, 1870; addition of nave and tower, 1871 (Guelph Advertiser, 27 Jan. 1870, 2, descrip.)
ALBERT STREET, 'Brooklyn', a residence for the architect, 1872 (Guelph, Designated Buildings of Architectural and Historical Interest 1977-1981, 14, illus.)
WALKERTON, ONT., Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church, Victoria Street, 1874-75 (inf. Dale E.A. Wilson, Walkerton)
LITTLE GERMANY, ONT., Roman Catholic Church, 1875-77 (Evening Mercury [Guelph], 12 Oct. 1877, 1, descrip.)