Whitechapel Bell Foundry (76)

I can scarcely bear it.

After four years of fighting and campaigning and sometimes weekly meetings fund-raising, the Secretary of State has made his decision. The Whitechapel Bell Foundry will be turned into a hotel. Four and a half centuries of bell-making in Whitechapel has gone to pot and another bit of British history will be turned into an ersatz coffee bar – what Historic England, in their wisdom, responsible for the preservation of the historic fabric of England, calls ‘adaptive re-use’, a totally weaselly term, which allows the Commissioners to celebrate the plundering of the past for the purposes of private enrichment, perhaps not surprising now that all trustees are going to have to take an oath of loyalty to the Prime Minister.

Before I sign off on this topic for the 76th. time, I would like to thank and celebrate the work of Re:Form and Factum Arte which put forward such cogent and well-considered plans to protect the Bell Foundry and re-instate it. And also to thank all those people who contributed large and small sums to the appeal, many of them my friends and blog-followers. Your support – and the support of all those hundreds and thousands of people who have written and campaigned to save the Bell Foundry – has been really appreciated.

For those of you who did not see it, I attach the excellent article in the Guardian a couple of days ago (https://www.theguardian.com/news/2021/may/11/whitechapel-bell-foundry-battle-save-britains-oldest-factory). And a mournful picture from 1919 as bell making moves to China:-

A photo dated 1919 of a worker at the Whitechapel Bell Foundry.

7 thoughts on “Whitechapel Bell Foundry (76)

  1. sandynairne says:

    So sorry to read this – and even more so knowing both why the decision is so wrong in principle and how much work you and others did in trying to get the planning and heritage bodies to see sense.

  2. Sue Stamp says:

    What a tragedy. Thank you Charles, for your perseverance and that of everyone else involved, for all the campaigning, lobbying and updating on the fate of the Whitechapel Bell Foundry – I feel very privileged to have taken many groups for tours there while it was still a working foundry.

  3. jennythorneycroft says:

    Dear Charles I have been following the Whitechapel Bell Foundry controversy with great interest and thank you for drawing attention to it. It is a bitterly disappointing outcome but I fear only to be expected from this unspeakable government and the wretched Jenrick. I can’t comment directly on your blog because I don’t have a domain! Best wishes to you and Romilly. Jenny
    Sent from my iPhone

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