Skip to content

John Claridge At Whitechapel Bell Foundry

February 24, 2019
by the gentle author

John Claridge first visited the Whitechapel Bell Foundry in 1982 to photograph the life of Britain’s oldest manufacturing company, founded in 1570 – and he returned 2016 to take another set of pictures. Remarkably, little changed in the intervening years.

‘When I got into the foundry all the work had finished, it was deserted,’ he told me, ‘it was like walking through a time portal or boarding the Mary Celeste. There was a very tactile feeling about the place, where craftsmanship held sway, and my pictures pay testament to that feeling.’

You can help save the Whitechapel Bell Foundry as a living foundry by submitting an objection to the boutique hotel proposal to Tower Hamlets council. Please take a moment this weekend to write your letter of objection. The more objections we can lodge the better, so please spread the word to your family and friends.



Use your own words and add your own personal reasons for opposing the development. Any letters which simply duplicate the same wording will count only as one objection.


1. Quote the application reference: PA/19/00008/A1

2. Give your full name and postal address. You do not need to be a resident of Tower Hamlets or of the United Kingdom to register a comment but unless you give your postal address your objection will be discounted.

3. Be sure to state clearly that you are OBJECTING to Raycliff Capital’s application.

4. Point out the ‘OPTIMUM VIABLE USE’ for the Whitechapel Bell Foundry is as a foundry not a boutique hotel.

5. Emphasise that you want it to continue as a foundry and there is a viable proposal to deliver this.

6. Request the council refuse Raycliff Capital’s application for change of use from foundry to hotel.



You can write an email to


you can post your objection direct on the website by following this link to Planning and entering the application reference PA/19/00008/A1


you can send a letter to

Town Planning, Town Hall, Mulberry Place, 5 Clove Crescent, London, E14 2BG



You may also like to read about

A Bell-Themed Boutique Hotel?

Nigel Taylor, Tower Bell Manager

Benjamin Kipling, Bell Tuner

Hope for The Whitechapel Bell Foundry

A Petition to Save the Bell Foundry

Save the Whitechapel Bell Foundry

So Long, Whitechapel Bell Foundry



Click here to order a copy of John Claridge’s EAST END for £25

3 Responses leave one →
  1. February 24, 2019

    A treasure trove of muscular images; a wonderful bygone record of genuine craft and great sense of purpose

  2. Jill Wilson permalink
    February 24, 2019

    Fantastic photos – very atmospheric as his pictures always are, and lovely textured details.

    I have just seen the faux Big Ben lookalike skyscraper in Dubai – not sure if it is a naff hotel, luxury apartments or yet another bad taste office block!

  3. February 24, 2019

    John has captured powerful images which reflect the craftsmanship and skills of the Foundry employees.
    In one image I caught a glimpse of one of the mighty Dorman Long girders which supported the magnificent bells, I wonder if these have also been ripped out like everything else inside.
    The proud old building has lost its’ soul……let us all hope we can get it put back.
    Objection made and acknowledged by Tower Hamlets.

Leave a Reply

Note: Comments may be edited. Your email address will never be published.

Subscribe to this comment feed via RSS