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Four Centuries At Whitechapel Bell Foundry

March 24, 2019
by the gentle author

Stefan Dickers, Archivist at Bishopsgate Institute discovered this modest pamphlet from the fifties in his collection recently and I have yet to find a better account the historic significance of the Whitechapel Bell Foundry. If you ever wondered what the difference was between a chime and a carillon, today you can learn the precise nature of this distinction.

Images courtesy Bishopsgate Institute

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. Already we have lodged over six hundred letters of objection but we aim to deliver over a thousand. If you have not already done so, 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 send a letter to

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



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A Bell-Themed Boutique Hotel?

Nigel Taylor, Tower Bell Manager

Benjamin Kipling, Bell Tuner

Pearl Binder at Whitechapel Bell Foundry

Dorothy Rendell at Whitechapel Bell Foundry

Hope for The Whitechapel Bell Foundry

A Petition to Save the Bell Foundry

Save the Whitechapel Bell Foundry

So Long, Whitechapel Bell Foundry

Fourteen Short Poems About The Whitechapel Bell Foundry

7 Responses leave one →
  1. Jill Wilson permalink
    March 24, 2019

    Good find Stefan!

    Really interesting stuff, especially the pages about how the bell moulds are made and the inscriptions and decorations are added. And great illustrations of the chimes and carillon set ups.

  2. Helen Breen permalink
    March 24, 2019

    Greetings from Boston,

    GA, this is an fascinating overview of the Whitechapel Foundry including the fact that Philadelphia’s Liberty Bell was also cast there. Who knew? What a history…

  3. March 24, 2019

    What an important discovery ! The pamphlet clearly shows the historic significance of the foundry . I cant beleive that the issue of a bijou hotel or where the foundry stands is under discussion. Do we care about history or not. Does it matter. Must we always give way to powerful business interests . The answer is always Yes! and then we look back and say” What were we thinking at the time. Why did we do this awful thing ? “. Save the Whitechapel Bell Foundry !

  4. March 24, 2019

    What a fascinating insight into this amazing and much loved foundry in the East End.
    Let us hope that bells in the locality will ring rather than toll……..after Tower Hamlets Planning Committee make their decision.
    Keep objecting everyone!

  5. March 25, 2019

    I live in a small fishing village named Petty Harbour in Newfoundland, pop.950. Our Anglican Church has a bell cast by Whitechapel in the 1840s. Here is the link and some pictures.

  6. November 7, 2019

    Iam a direct descendant of the Oliver family who worked at the Whitechapel bell foundry without a break for 250 years and am currently researching the family history. Sarah Oliver, granddaughter of Thomas Lester was bequeathed the foundry under the guidance of Mr Exeter. , Thomas Lester’s Solicitor,. In the will it states that she rents the foundry to Thomas Lester’s nephew Mr Chapman (I have a copy of Thomas Lester’s will) Sarah Oliver’s father was John Oliver who married Thomas Lester’s daughter the only surviving offspring. He had twins who died infancy.Iam appalled that this beautiful building willed be demolished to be replaced by a boutique hotel. Linda McArdle

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