Whitechapel Bell Foundry (44)

I have been thinking about a comment made by a friend who walked from Clerkenwell up the Whitechapel Road. She remarked how sad it was that the Bell Foundry had been shuttered up for so long; and then pointed out that it is not so far from the old London Hospital building which is being renovated as the new Tower Hamlets Town Hall. Does Tower Hamlets, she asked, not care about its local history ? It made me think about the ways in which the Bell Foundry is a monument not just in its own right, but to the development of the city eastwards in the mid-eighteenth century, as Spitalfields expanded and potteries opened in Limehouse and Bow: examples of small industries dependent on specialist skills, of which the Foundry was an exceptionally well-preserved example; at least, I can’t think of others which survived in the same way. They will regret it. But by then it will be too late.

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