Whitechapel Bell Foundry (63)

I’ve spent a long day listening to two conservation experts be cross-examined as to why and how they think the historic character of the Whitechapel Bell Foundry is best conserved by a) demolishing the adjacent 1980s extension and turning it into a hotel lobby b) building a massive 103-room hotel next door in a style which somehow simulates the original bell foundry in a totally kitsch way c) turning the majority of the surviving bell foundry into a ‘themed’ café d) putting in a little toy foundry in a small space next door to the courtyard e) separating the toy foundry from the café with a brand new, intrusive glass screen. The clear advice of Historic England is that the best way of retaining the historic character of a building is to retain its original historic use. Conversion into a modern hotel is nothing like its original use. So, it seems pretty obvious at the end of the day that the best way of retaining its character is to reinstate it as a Foundry, as Re-Form and Factum Foundation have together imaginatively and persuasively proposed.


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