Delivering The Bell Foundry Petition
Yesterday, Dan Cruickshank and representatives of leading heritage groups delivered a petition of more than ten thousand signatures to Karen Bradley, Secretary of State for Culture and Sport, accompanied by the following letter.
Dear Secretary of State,
We, the undersigned national and local organisations, wish to express our deep concern about the imminent loss of the Whitechapel Bell Foundry and have also strongly registered our views with Historic England.
Our campaign has been supported by many high-profile individuals in the arts and cultural world including architect, writer and TV presenter George Clarke, author Charles Saumarez Smith, historian Dan Cruickshank, architect Sir Nicholas Grimshaw, sculptor Sir Antony Gormley and many more. The petition attached has been signed and supported by over 10,000 individuals in just three weeks.
We also wish to highlight the exceptional historical and cultural significance of the site that has been at the heart of British bell casting for centuries. The business, principally the making of church bells, has operated continuously in Whitechapel since at least the 1570s. It has been on its present site with the existing house and office buildings since the mid 1740s. In our view this uniquely important historic asset should be properly protected and celebrated through listing at Grade I.
A straightforward redevelopment of this site is not the only option. The UK Heritage Building Preservation Trust which owns and manages Middleport Pottery in Stoke, has made an open request to the owners of the buildings and business to defer the current sale. This would enable an alternative model to be assembled which would save the foundry for the nation where it has been in continuous operation for over 250 years.
We, along with thousands of other people, ask you to understand our concerns and respond accordingly.
Tom Antoniw, The East End Preservation Society
Henrietta Billings, Director, SAVE Britain’s Heritage
Peter Guillery, Senior Historian and Editor, Survey of London
Mike Heyworth, Director, Council for British Archaeology
David McKinstry, Director, The Georgian Group
Matthew Saunders, Secretary, Ancient Monuments Society
Matthew Slocombe, Director, The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings
Tim Whittaker, The Spitalfields Trust
Photographs copyright © Sarah Ainslie
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