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Belbin Stories & Gossip

A random collection of news items, stories and gossip about people, events, places and anything else where the Belbin name was or is in the limelight

Where in the World is Belbin ?

BELBIN families are currently found living in England, Wales, Scotland, Denmark, Germany, Zimababwe, South Africa, USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, but did you know that the name is more permanently placed in some locations because the actual places themselves are named BELBIN (or a variant thereof)?  Presumably in English speaking countries, these places have been named after particular individuals called BELBIN who either lived there or had a major impact on the local community and were thus imortalised by having their name included on maps. Somewhat surprisingly, there are also places where the name exists in muslim countries but one can only guess at the reason why. If you know how or why a particular place acquired the BELBIN name, please do enlighten us.

A VIEW OF BELBIN SINK, ASTURIAS, SPAIN
A VIEW OF BELBIN SINK, ASTURIAS, SPAIN
PART OF A MAP SHOWING BELBIN IN ASTURIAS, SPAIN
PART OF A MAP SHOWING BELBIN IN ASTURIAS, SPAIN

In north western Spain, in the Principality of Asturias, near Covadonga, are the Picos de Europa mountains, an area which UNESCO has declared as being a Biosphere Reserve. In these mountains is a cave system called El Hoya la Madre which can be accessed via a valley known as The BELBIN Fertile Valley which until recent times was an almost unknown place. It is also called the BELBIN Moraine. As you may know, a moraine is an area of debris carried down and deposited by glacier. Explorations of the Rio Casano gorge in El Hoya la Madre can only be made by descending from the BUFERRERA-BELBIN track into the BELBIN Fertile Valley whereupon one finds the BELBIN SINK. This is to say two small streams sink at the collection of shepherd’s huts known as BELBIN. One disappears into the centre of the valley below the moraine into a sand and gravel floored stream. The other sinks through boulders into a subterranean streamway which is possibly a way into the caves. The question which needs answering is why is the BELBIN name here? Please get in touch if you know.

Some other places which may or may not have a connection with the BELBIN name are:

BELBEN: Los Lagos, Chile

BALBIN: Cienfeugos, Cuba

BALBINA: Amazonas, Brazil

BELBANA: Barisal, Bangladesh 

BALBINO: Minas Gerais, Brazil 

BALBANO: Italy

BALABAN: Serbia

BILLEBEN: Thuringen, Germany

BELABAN: Indonesia

BILBON: Oppland, Norway 

BYLBAN: Sakha (Yakutiya), Russia

BELLEBEN: Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany

BALBINOW: Poland

BALABAN: Macedonia

BALABAN: Turkey

BOULBON: Provence-Alpes-Cote D’Azur, France

BALBAINA: Andalucia, Spain

BALABAN: Tehran, Iran

BALABAN: Aibil, Iraq

BALBANE: Donegal, Ireland

BALABINE: Zaporiz’ka Oblast’, Ukraine 

BALABAN: Mali

BALABAN: Uzbekistan

BELBIN: Ilam, Iran

Yes, the last one in that list says BELBIN – it’s a place name in the Islamic Republic of Iran. See Surname History for some speculative comment on this outrageously unexpected situation. Of all the places on the planet, why would the name be in Iran? Does anyone know? 

Other places on the map include BELBINS at Romsey, Hampshire (see Romsey BELBINS). In Hombourg, Belgium there is a RUE DE BELBEN (BELBEN ROAD) and in County Sligo, Ireland can be found a mountain range called The Dartry Mountains. In this mountain range is the 526m peak BEN BULBIN (or BEN BELBEN) which in Irish is called BINN GHULBAIN. The poet W.B.YEATS wrote the poem Under Ben Bulben and that area is commonly referred to as Yeats Country. There is BELLMAN’S COVE in the Port au Port region of Newfoundland, Canada and in New Chelsea, Newfoundland there is a BELBIN ROAD EAST and a BELBIN ROAD WEST. Vanuatu has BELBIN BAY whilst in Tasmania, Australia there is BELBIN RIVULET and a BELBIN ROAD at Cambridge, a BELBINS CREEK which is a 10 mile long watercourse, in Cadell County and a BELBINS WATERHOLE in the same place. In Canberra, Australia can be found BELBIN PLACE. In Casper, Wyoming, USA is BALBEN ROAD and in England, we have BELBIN WAY at Sawston, near Cambridge and BELBEN ROAD in Bournemouth, Dorset.


The Natal Queen – Tall Ship Owned by F.W. Belbin

F W BELBIN owned the barque Natal Queen which was built in 1866 by Adamson at Grangemouth. Her length was 113 ft 8 in. (34.5 m), beam 23 ft 5 in. (7.1 m), depth 12 ft 7 in. (3.8 m), and she weighed 230 tons. She came to Hobart, Tasmania in 1873 and sailed out of this port for many years under various owners and masters. She was wrecked at Adventure Bay off Bruny Island in June 1909. 

THE NATAL QUEEN
THE NATAL QUEEN

Belbin 17th Century Trade Tokens

NICK BELBIN TOKEN - REVERSE
NICK BELBIN TOKEN
REVERSE
RICHARD BELBIN TOKEN - REVERSE
RICHARD BELBIN TOKEN
REVERSE

Owing to the absence of any authorised coinage of low denominations in the 17th Century, local token coins were made and used in most areas of England during the period 1648 to 1672 and at other periods during the next two centuries. They were mostly used by tradesmen, and were for values of 1d (one penny), ½d (halfpenny) and ¼d (farthing). Unless specifically marked otherwise they were of the value of one farthing and only had local value. Only six specimins of those issued in Ringwood, Hampshire are known to exist.

Two of these are BELBIN tokens issued by: 

Nick (or NicholasBELBIN Value ½d. On the obverse is inscribed NICK BELBIN HABADASHER with A HAT. He was a haberdasher and was born in 1615. See Romsey BELBINS. The Reverse of the token reads IN RINGWOOD HIS HALF PENY N.I.B. The token is made of copper alloy and accessioned by Hampshire Museums as N1973.205.202.

Richard BELBIN Value ½d. He was a confectioner born in 1616 and died in Ringwood during a smallpox epidemic in 1695. The token was issued in 1668 of coin pattern: Wetton Ringwood 2. The inscription on the obverse reads RICHARD BELBIN.1668./.B./R.M a sugar loaf, and on the reverse IN. RINGWOOD./HIS/HALFE/PENNY It was made of copper alloy and was accessioned by Hampshire Museums as N1973.205.203.

David Allen, the Senior Keeper of Archaeology at Hampshire Museums, who kindly provided the illustrations, advises that both tokens are smaller in size than the modern day English 10p coin and are held in the museum’s Numismatic Box 16. They both appear on page 25 of The Hampshire 17th Century Traders’ Tokens: Lymington published by J L Wetton in 1964.

NICK BELBIN TOKEN - OBVERSE
NICK BELBIN TOKEN
OBVERSE
RICHARD BELBIN TOKEN - OBVERSE
RICHARD BELBIN TOKEN
OBVERSE

Belbin on The Red Planet

Robert Lawson BELBIN was a NASA scientist who worked on the Gemini space program, the Apollo Moon missions and the Viking 1 and Viking 2 probes sent to Mars in 1976. His name is recorded in the Smithsonian Museum in Washington DC and also on a micro-dot on the side of one of the Viking space craft. As the craft is still on Mars, then the BELBIN name is on Mars also!

VIKING MISSION TO MARS

David Belbin – Author

David Belbin
DAVID BELBIN
HAUNTING TIME
HAUNTING TIME

David BELBIN was once an English Teacher, but since 1985 has written novels for young adults and teenagers. His first, The Foggiest was published in 1990 under the Scholastic Point Crime imprint. He has written some 40 novels for young adults including a police series, The Beat, for Scholastic, as well as suspense novels for Mammoth and Penguin. One of his novels, Love Lessons, was awarded second prize in the 2000 North Eastern Book Awards (second only to Harry Potter himself!).

In addition to his works for young adults, David BELBIN has also produced a number of short stories for adult readers, and has even written a nonfiction book, The E-Bay Book: Essential Tips for Buying and Selling on E-bay.co.uk, which had its roots in his hobby of buying and selling rare record albums and CD’s.

For more on this internationally acclaimed author where you can find out about the many books he has written as well as some biographical background, visit David BELBIN’s website.

THE FOGGIEST

Anthony Belbin – Mayor of Portsmouth, England

For many centuries before 1927, Portsmouth’s First Citizen was The Mayor. Their names are listed on the Council Chamber boards at Portsmouth Guildhall and one of them is Anthony BELBIN who was Mayor of Portsmouth from Michaelmas Day (29th September) 1652 for one year, which was the normal term of office. Anthony BELBIN died in June 1660 and his family tree is detailed in the Everitt Collection R9740 held at Portsmouth City Library. The Everitt Collection was essentially a collection of books and genealogy of Hampshire families including the BELBINS compiled by Alfred Thomas Everitt (1851-1922) whose widow sold them to the library for £60 after his death. Amongst the collection are The Hampshire Pedigrees in four volumes on microfilm and also an Alphabetical Index of Mayors and Burgesses of Portsmouth, where reference to Anthony BELBIN can be found.


William Belbin – Mayor of Hobart, Tasmania

WILLIAM BELBIN
WILLIAM BELBIN

William BELBIN (1825-1892) was Mayor of Hobart, Tasmania for 1880, 1883 and 1884 and represented South Hobart as a member of parliament for 19 years in the House of Assembly in Tasmania. William was twice married and was the father of 11 children of whom only 5 survived him. His life story and that of his father James BELBIN and other members of the family is told in Reg Wright’s book The Youngs of Rokeby and their Friends and I commend this to you if you are remotely interested in BELBIN Genealogy. Reg Wright has kindly allowed some chapters from his book to be reproduced on BelbinMania. Click on the links below to view these:

  1. JAMES BELBIN THE EMANCIPIST
  2. WILLIAM BELBIN THE POLITICIAN
  3. BELBIN LETTERS & PETITIONS
BACK COVER OF THE YOUNGS OF ROKEBY
BACK COVER OF
THE YOUNGS OF ROKEBY

Susan Belbin – Director & Producer of Light Entertainment at BBC TV

Susan BELBIN was a Director and Producer of Light Entertainment, Comedy at BBC Television in England so you may well have seen her name listed in the credits of such programmes as One Foot in the Grave, Jonathan Creek, Only Fools and Horses, It Ain’t Half Hot, Mum, and so on. She directed 32 episodes of one of the BBC’s most funny and famous comedy series One Foot In The Grave shown on BBC 1 television between 1990 and 1996 and was nominated for BAFTA TV Awards for episodes of that programme in 1991, 1993 and 1995 and actually won a BAFTA award for it in 1992. She was also nominated for a BAFTA in 1989 for an episode of Allo Allo and won a second BAFTA in 1998 for Jonathan Creek. Other TV series which she directed include Life Without GeorgeBreadSitting PrettyDoctor at the Top and No Place Like Home. Susan was also Production Manager of Hi-de-Hi and It Ain’t Half Hot Mum. So, next time you watch a repeat of any of these programmes, be sure to read the credits at the end!


H. W. G. Belbin – Inventor of the Land & Water Cycle

This curious piece of BELBIN history was discovered in the late 1980’s when replica postcards of the Battersea area were found for sale in Battersea Library. The illustrationt is in fact a copy of an original postcard subsequently found for sale on eBay in 2006. H W G BELBIN is in fact the Henry William George BELBEN who was born on 20th November 1874 at Abbas & Temple Coombe, Milborne Port, Somerset to George BELBIN and Catharine Witt and his ancestry is found in UK Tree 6. Henry’s birth was clearly registered incorrectly but his ancestors before his parents were in fact BELBENS yet his three known children were all registered as BELBINS. Anyway, the photographs were apparently taken just after World War 1, so that would put him in his late forties when he came to believe he could peddle on water.

HENRY WILLIAM GEORGE BELBIN - LAND AND WATER CYCLIST
HENRY WILLIAM GEORGE BELBIN
LAND AND WATER CYCLIST

The text of the postcard reads as follows:

This Land and Water Cycle was invented and constructed by an Englishman, H.W.G. Belbin, 1a William Street, New Road, Battersea SW8 who is seen in the saddle, riding straight into the Thames from the main road without dismounting. As a Water Cyclist, Mr. Belbin has covered over 700 miles on river and sea at Weston-Super-Mare, Westcliff and at Southend-on-sea where an interested crowd watched him ride along the pier and straight into the sea. He has given exhibitions of Life-Saving at Battersea Baths and his inability to swim proves the confidence he has in his invention. He has been shown on the screen at various Picture Palaces. This machine can leave home fully equipped for either land or water without change of gear, and Mr. Belbin would be pleased to give a demonstration to that effect on receipt of a post card.


Belbin’s Cove, Newfoundland

Janet McNaughton is an author of children’s novels from St. John’s in Newfoundland. Her book Catch Me Once, Catch Me Twice, published in 1994 is based in wartime St. John’s in 1942. The central character, 12 year old Evelyn McCallum is from a place called BELBIN’S COVE. Janet explained that BELBIN’S COVE was the fictional name she gave for the community in New Chelsea where, she says, BELBIN is quite a common surname in the area.

CATCH ME ONCE, CATCH ME TWICE
CATCH ME ONCE, CATCH ME TWICE
AERIAL VIEW OF NEW CHELSEA Photo © Harrison Belbin
AERIAL VIEW OF NEW CHELSEA Photo © Harrison Belbin

The point was illustrated well, when seeking out a photograph of New Chelsea. The aerial view, shown on the right, looked perfect as it showed what was Janet’s BELBIN’S COVE very clearly. When seeking permission to use it here, it was found that a certain Harrison BELBIN was the person from whom permission should be sought. Harrison is the webmaster of New Chelsea Weather and grateful thanks goes to him.

Apart from her other books, Janet McNaughton had previously written an article in 1991 for a now defunct local history and culture magazine called Decks Awash. The article was called BELBIN of New Chelsea and was about the then New Chelsea resident genealogist Lloyd BELBIN who, it is understood from the article, was the person often asked to help local high school and university students with folklore and history projects and to whom people researching family history in the area usually went for assistance. It also turns out that Lloyd BELBIN is none other than the father of Harrison BELBIN mentioned above.

A further article in the same issue of the Decks Awash magazine, called History: New Chelsea described the first settlement of Seal Cove, New Chelsea by fishermen from the Devon and Dorset fleets. Mentioned in the article are the BELBEN family of Sturminster Newton, Dorset who arrived there after 1815 with James BELBEN moving to Seal Cove with his three (unnamed) sons and two daughters.

Visit JANET McNAUGHTON’S WEBSITE

BELBIN OF NEW CHELSEA
BELBIN OF NEW CHELSEA

Thomas St. John Belbin – the first Belbin with a telephone number

The telephone was patented by Alexander Graham Bell in 1876 and the first public telephone service was introduced in the UK in 1879, followed by the first Telephone Directory in 1880. It seems that only 19 years later, in 1899, Thomas St. John BELBIN, a gentleman of Nortonthorpe Hall was listed in the Huddersfield section of the UK directory, thus having the apparant distinction of being the first recorded BELBIN with a telephone number. The number was Skelmanthorpe 27.Coincidentally, the first BELBEN entries also appear in the same 1899 directory. There is a Frank BELBEN of Endsleigh, Suffolk Road, Bournemouth on Bournemouth 381 in the Bournemouth section and in the Poole section we find G & T BELBEN, Millers of Poole on Poole 43 and George BELBEN, jun. of Bark Hart, Seldown, Poole on Poole 44.


Belbin of The Police

Author, Robert Harding wrote several short stories for the boys magazine Chums in 1930 and 1931. They were police detective stories featuring none other than a policeman by the name of, yes, you’ve guessed – BELBIN. So far, no evidence has been found as to why this fictional policeman was so named.

CHUMS MAGAZINE HEADER FROM 18 SEPTEMBER 1920
CHUMS MAGAZINE HEADER FROM 18 SEPTEMBER 1920

The seven BELBIN stories which were published in Chums were:

Belbin of the Police – 4 Nov 1930
The Plot that Failed – 23 Dec 1930
Belbin of the Police: The Twenty-Eighth Instant -17 Nov 1931
The Vault of Death – 24 Nov 1931
The Bridge – 1 Dec 1931
Beyond the Border – 8 Dec 1931
A Christmas Eve Job – 22 Dec 1931