Charity hopes to buy back historic Whitechapel Bell Foundry from developers

PUBLISHED: 07:00 16 July 2018

Staff from the Whitechapel Bell Foundry and members of the public ringing bells on the day the London Olympic Games were inagurated. Picture: Isabel Infantes

Staff from the Whitechapel Bell Foundry and members of the public ringing bells on the day the London Olympic Games were inagurated. Picture: Isabel Infantes


A charity is seeking to re-open the historic Whitechapel Bell Foundry after it was closed down and bought by developers last year.

The Bell Foundry has been in the Grade II listed building in Whitechapel Road since 1740, but premises were sold in 2016 after rising costs and declining demand made it unviable to stay.

The building was bought by Raycliff in 2017, and in June this year they held a public consultation on proposals for the site. They included a building behind the site housing a hotel, along with office and retail spaces.

But The United Kingdom Historic Building Preservation Trust (UKHBPT) fear the proposals will strip the building of its heritage, and together with not-for-profit conservation group, the Factum Foundation, they’ve set out a different vision for the building, which would see the foundry business continue.

Their report, Saved by the Bell, proposes the Factum-UKHBPT partnership acquires the building, re-equips the foundry and restarts bell-making within a year, once emergency repairs to the roof have been carried out.

The partnership would fund the takeover with sponsorship, and then reinstate employees and develop a training sheme for future bell-makers.

The report proposes using modern bell-casting techniques to keep the business viable, including 3D recording, 3D printing and state-of-the-art scanning techniques.

Nigel Taylor, who was the tower bell production manager at the foundry for 40 years, said: “We will need to totally re-equip the premises, but this presents the opportunity to obtain modern equipment and to employ state-of-the-art moulding and casting techniques.

“This approach to the revitalisation of the Whitechapel Bell Foundry will keep the production of bells on this site for the foreseeable future.”

According to Raycliff, their scheme has been designed to maximise the amount of space open to the public, while keeping the significant historic features intact.

Changes will have “full regard” to the importance of the site in the history of bell founding, with the possiblity of onsite bell-making workshops. The proposals have been developed with Historic England, Tower Hamlets Council and the Hughes family, who managed the site for more than 100 years.

A spokesman from Raycliff said: “We’ve put together a very experienced heritage-led design team to deliver a new future for the foundry that will include bell founding on the old site.”

Latest East London News Stories

Yesterday, 17:41

Parents fighting the closure of three council-run nurseries and a specialist deaf unit in the borough have been “thrown a lifeline” by councillors.

Yesterday, 16:10

New City College closed its six campuses for a day to take part in a march in Westminster.

Yesterday, 11:43

A shop in Limehouse accused of selling laughing gas to children as young as 14 has lost its licence to sell alcohol.

Yesterday, 09:49

Tower Hamlets Council will receive extra funding from the government to help ease winter pressures on the NHS.

Wed, 12:19

The Mayor of Tower Hamlets has announced a package of ‘tackling poverty innovation grants’ worth £200,000 for new programmes by community and voluntary groups in the borough.

Wed, 08:53

Commuters are facing severe delays on the Jubilee line this morning following a signal failure.

Wed, 07:57

A woman had her phone and cash stolen after being duped into letting someone into her home.

Tue, 16:58

A Bangla music festival has released details of its lineup.


Are you a landlord looking for a fixed rental income, paid whether the property is empty or not? Steve Westley, general manager at estate agents Elliot Leigh, explains their Guaranteed Rent Scheme and how it takes the stress out of letting your property.

Newsletter Sign Up

East London Advertiser twice-weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most read news

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition


Enjoy the
Docklands and East London Advertiser
e-edition today


Education and Training


Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now