Uncertain Bells

I have tried to record any new developments regarding the fate of the Whitechapel Bell Foundry since that ancient and venerable London manufactory closed in 2018. Last year the situation seemed grim, indeed. But now the plan to redevelop the site into a modern hotel has fallen through. The Gentle Author reports:

A new chapter opens in the ongoing saga of the historic Whitechapel Bell Foundry as the American developers put the building up for sale. When their option lapsed to buy the land at the rear of the foundry, where they had planned to build their tower of hotel rooms with a swimming pool on the top, we knew that the ill-conceived bell-themed boutique hotel scheme was dead and it was only a matter of time before this outcome arrived.

Shame on all those who killed the world’s most famous bell foundry that operated in Whitechapel for five hundred years from the reign of Elizabeth I to the reign of Elizabeth II, where the Liberty Bell and Big Ben were cast.

The Gentle Author proposes a plan to restore the factory to working order:

The challenge now for the London Bell Foundry is to acquire the building in Whitechapel and reopen it as a fully-working foundry, employing a marriage of new and old technology, establishing the foundry as an international centre for the culture and science of bell-founding, and maximising the educational potential, through apprenticeships for local people and work with schools and colleges in East London.

The same plan would have been instituted by the UK Historic Building Preservation Trust, which had tried unsuccessfully to buy the foundry back from the developers in 2018. Hopefully a successful bid can be made now.

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