Whitechapel Bell Foundry (11)

I thought it might be helpful to know a bit more about James Strike, the conservation architect who was responsible for adding the big industrial extension at the back of the Whitechapel Bell Foundry so sensitively in the early 1980s, which Historic England is now happy to see demolished in order to enable the site to be turned into a luxury hotel.

Well, blow me down, guess what ? He was the in-house architect for none other than English Heritage, the predecessor body of Historic England. He is a great expert on architectural conservation, with particular experience and expertise in adapting historic buildings for current use, and author of Architecture in Conservation, published in 2012.

In other words, the building that Historic England are now happy to see demolished as being of ‘no architectural or historic interest’ was put up by their own in-house architect, grant aided by the GLC, precisely in order to allow the Bell Foundry to continue to flourish.

Perhaps we could have James Strike’s views on this topic ? Or has he signed the Official Secrets Act, like the rest of Historic England ?

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4 thoughts on “Whitechapel Bell Foundry (11)

  1. Ben P says:

    I should also let you know Charles that when working on High Street 2012 and as the then LB Tower Hamlets historic buildings officer / project manager, we visited the Foundry with English Heritage looking for ways (with their funding) to fund it – given it was on ‘High Street 2012’…
    The issue was that the family would not consider at that point setting up a charitable arm in order to receive any funding.. How quickly things change. Austerity has done dreadful things to orgs like EH/ Historic England..

    • Dear Ben, This is very useful to know. If only they could have been a bit more receptive to your proposals, all the problems that have ensued from its recent sale could have been avoided. Who were you dealing with at EH/HE ? Charles

  2. Andrew Jackson says:

    This must be the same Jim Strike who was a contemporary of mine at the Canterbury School of Architecture in the 1960s. He was a great enthusiast of industrial architecture and introduced me to the Functional Tradition, a book by James Richards with superb photographs by Eric de Maré of mills, warehouses and dockyard buildings. It is the book that I would snatch first from my library in the event of flood or fire.

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