Whitechapel Bell Foundry (1)

Tonight may or may not see the end of the long local and national campaign to try and save – and reinstate – the Whitechapel Bell Foundry, one of the great historic sites of East London, on a par in its way with the Trinity Almshouses up the road whose threatened demolition led to the foundation of the Survey of London and the realisation that we need forever to make determined efforts to keep portions, relics of the world we are in danger of losing: in the case of the Bell Foundry, the continuity of manufacture in a type of object of such symbolic resonance. Now, there is a risk that it will become just another boutique hotel, an empty shell, and a cafeteria. Memory will have gone. And the continuity of workshop practices, the importance of labour to an understanding of the historic environment. But I nearly forgot. It is Historic England, the government agency charged with protecting the historic environment, which has recommended its loss.



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