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  • Writer's picturePenrith and Eden Museum

Jimmy the Bellman,1846-1907

Updated: May 4, 2020

An old postcard in Penrith Museum shows James Parkin standing in front of the Gloucester Arms Hotel in Great Dockray. He is holding a handbell and is looking towards the camera. The postcard was made by the Penrith photographer Lynn, and is date-stamped 1909. Jimmy’s handbell is on display in the Museum and was used to announce local news. At a time when newspapers were expensive and not everyone could read, the bellman had an important job to do. Saturdays and Tuesdays were the official ‘crying days’ when he would tour Penrith shouting his announcements in the Corn Market and at other places. He would announce deaths by ringing the bell slowly three times, then telling people the funeral arrangements.

Image of the bell discuss in the article above.

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