Sir Isaac Lowthian Bell was an industrialist largely concerned with iron manufacture. He was also a respected scientist and expert on blast furnace technology writing many report and surveys on the subject. He was Director of the North Eastern Railway from 1865 to his death in 1904. Bell was Deputy Chairman of NER from 1895 to 1904. He helped to set up the British Iron Trade Association and was its first president, and he played a role in the founding of the Iron and Steel Institute in 1869, becoming its president in 1873. He was president of the Institute of Mining Engineers in 1904. Bell was mayor of Newcastle twice and an MP for Hartlepool. He received a baronetcy in 1885. Bell died in 1904.