Whitechapel Bell Foundry (1)

I have gone quiet of late about the now long-ish saga of the fate of the Whitechapel Bell Foundry. To recap. It was sold by its long-standing owners, the Hughes family, to an east London property developer who flipped it at once at a handsome profit to a New York venture capitalist called Bippy Segal who runs a company called Raycliff Capital. They drew up plans to turn the site into a hotel, keeping only a small part at the front as a shrine to bell making. Meanwhile, the United Kingdom Historic Building Preservation Trust drew up plans to preserve the building as a whole as a Foundry, keeping its character and as much as possible of its historic fabric and original use fully intact. Historic England under advice of now departed official, Roger Bowdler, chose to support the Raycliff scheme, apparently ignorant of, or choosing to ignore, the alternative scheme. They told their Commissioners that it was a fait accompli.

Tower Hamlets makes a decision as to whether or not it will allow change of use on November 14th. It should not allow the development to happen, for the very simple legal reason that there is a viable alternative scheme which retains its original use in a way which is economically viable and will secure the character of one of the great surviving buildings of East London.

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2 thoughts on “Whitechapel Bell Foundry (1)

  1. Can there not be a compromise, as the Mark Twain Library in Brent found with an
    enlightened developer by which the developer got some of his development and the Library got a (smaller) Library?

    • Yes, I think it ought to be possible for Raycliff to retain the bulk of the hotel, most of which is on an adjacent site and even possibly allowing them to build higher, if they were to sell the Bell Foundry at its current market value to UKHBPT in order to retain its original use. But this would require some level of compromise.

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