Farrow Siddall Bellamy
became one of the most distinguished and yet least remembered of those
pioneering Victorian visitors who left their mark on the island of Tenerife. He
was born in 1865 at Belton, in the Isle of Axholm part of Lincolnshire and
first came to live in the Canary Islands at the age of twenty. He was employed
in Las Palmas by the Liverpool firm of Elder Dempster and Company, whose
shipping line advertised regular services from Liverpool, London and Hull to West
African ports, calling at Madeira, Grand Canary and Tenerife. He spent thirteen
years in Grand Canary and was married to Alice Harrison before moving across to
Tenerife in 1898 to manage the company’s affairs on the sister island.

Elder Dempster managed the British and African Steam Navigation Company
In fact, Mister Bellamy spent the rest of his
days in Tenerife where he died in 1947. While at the helm of Elder Dempster he
managed the shipping agency, the supply of coal to calling steamships and the
running of one of the finest old hotels in Santa Cruz, the Hotel Pino de Oro. The
hotel had been opened by his employer at Elder Dempster, Sir Alfred Lewis
Jones, who had taken over the ownership of the shipping company in the 1890s.

The Pino de Oro, as advertised in Brown’s Madeira, Canary Islands and Azores, 1932
Many years later, in 1932, the Pino de Oro prided itself in being the only
English hotel on the island. It was set in fine gardens with a mix of English and Mediterranean styles and, being at three
hundred feet above sea level, commanded excellent views over the harbour. The
hotel was advertised as lit throughout by electricity and with a drainage
system that had been arranged on the improved
sanitary principle
by an English sanitary engineer. Of great importance was
the hotel’s proximity to the Anglican St. George’s Church to which Farrow
Siddall Bellamy donated its beautiful pulpit.
St. George’s Church in Santa Cruz
Bellamy was a very
cultured gentleman, able to speak Spanish, French, Italian and German. He also
learnt to play the organ. He even bought himself one originally destined for the Gaudi Cathedral in Barcelona and had it installed in his Santa
Cruz mansion, Salamanca.  It was a splendid house with magnificent
gardens and gave its name to a busy district in the capital of Tenerife known today as the Barrio de Salamanca. Bellamy is
also believed to have taken a keen interest in history, even writing fine books
about early Spain, the Greeks, the Romans and other European cultures.
As we can see, Farrow
Siddall Bellamy was no ordinary English businessman abroad but, for some reason
worth researching in the future, his achievements were recognised much more by
his Spanish hosts and other nationalities than by his own countrymen. Spain awarded
Bellamy with the Order of Isabella the Catholic, a civil order acknowledging
the services of any person, be they Spanish or foreign. Sweden presented him
with their Order of the Pole Star, possibly for his services as honorary consul, and the Belgians presented him with the Order of Leopold 1st.

Bellamy’s Order of Isabella the Catholic medal would have been similar to this
Alice Bellamy gave him a daughter, Sylvia Cristina and three sons, all of whom were educated at Lancing College in the beautiful West
Sussex countryside and volunteered for the British Army to serve in the 1914
war. The youngest, Cecil, returned to Tenerife where he died in 1983. 
To finish with a couple of anecdotes, when Alice died 1945 Mr Bellamy married an English lady called Rhoda. She had at one time been a servant at their house, Salamanca and contacted Farrow Bellamy offering to help him with the writing of his books. After a short time she suggested they should be married as “people were beginning to talk”. He accepted. Rhoda looked after him until he died and then returned to England. On a
lighter note, Bellamy is believed to have been one of the first or indeed the
first person to have owned a motorcar in Tenerife. On 14th
February 1902 his legal adviser presented the Civil Governor with a document expressing,
as formally as was required in such important circumstances, “Having recently acquired in Paris an automobile from the firm of
Panhard and Levassor for his own particular use I hereby request your
corresponding permission for Mr. Bellamy to circulate freely along the streets
and roads in accordance with the laws governing automobile vehicles. He is the
one who will be driving it”.  

A 1902 Panhard Levassor
The car
is thought to have terrified the local population, especially when he first
drove into the hills. He took the same vehicle across the whole of Spain to
research for one of his books entitled The Cathedrals and Churches of Spain.
Sadly however, the magnificent automobile, believed to have been the first of
two cars to have carried the same number plate of TE1, caught fire in the Las
Mercedes hills when Bellamy tried to pour in more gasoline with the engine

My sincere thanks to Amanda Johnson for making comments which have enabled me to correct one or two factual errors in this article.

(Some images have been reproduced from internet with no personal financial gain intended.)

By John Reid Young

Author of The Skipping Verger and Other Tales