Whitechapel Bell Foundry (22)

Looking at David Levenson’s very beautiful documentary photographs of the Whitechapel Bell Foundry this morning, taken (amazingly) on his iPhone, I suddenly had an idea. This picture in particular is of the rear section, which Raycliff are planning to demolish, as ‘of no historical or aesthetic interest’:-

Yet, I am increasingly of the view that this part of the building, although put up in the late 1970s by James Strike, a conservation architect, is of considerable historical and indeed some aesthetic interest not on its own, but as an integral part of a combined historical and industrial whole – a relic of the history of London’s craft industries on which its economy was built and of the turn to conservation in the late 1970s. Not least it essentially replicates what was there before, so part of the building’s history.

If we could persuade Historic England to spotlist it, as part of the Bell Foundry, then the hotel scheme, butchering the fabric of the building and converting the rear section into the foyer of the hotel, would collapse. It would be a good way for Historic England to salvage its tattered reputation and a way for the conservation agencies to work together mobilising support.


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