Whitechapel Bell Foundry (43)

Bit by bit, new facts are coming to light about the Whitechapel Bell Foundry, as the moment of the Public Inquiry approaches. The latest thing I didn’t know about was that the National Trust itself made efforts to acquire it as a living, working entity in 2014, as indeed was only right and proper, recognising its historic importance as a parallel to Styal Mill in Lancashire – to demonstrate working conditions in the eighteenth century and the importance of small-scale workshop production to the Industrial Revolution. There are two things which are important about this. If the National Trust recognised its historic importance and how important it was to preserve it, why did Historic England not ? There should surely have been some communication between the two or do conservation agencies not talk to one another ? Secondly, why did they fail to take it over ? Did the owners perhaps want to keep its commercial value and not preserve it as a working entity ? Any information on this issue would be gratefully received (c@charlessaumarezsmith.com).

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