Bell was a director of the North Eastern Railway. Inspired to become an entrepreneur he took over the Walker ironworks on his father's death in In at Washington , County Durham, Bell made a breakthrough discovering a new process for manufacturing lead oxychloride. Pattinson was the inventor responsible for the process separating silver from lead that bears his name. In September he wrote to Losh and Wilson informing them that the partnership with Pattinson "would necessitate my relinquishing the office I at present hold in your firm". On the day it opened at Washington, Bell toured Newcastle in his carriage, saluting the crowds with an aluminium top hat.