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The Secretary Of State Steps In

December 4, 2019
by the gentle author


Thanks to all the letters written by you – the readers of Spitalfields Life – Robert Jenrick, the Secretary of State, has stepped in and issued a Holding Direction to Tower Hamlet Council which prevents them proceeding with approving the Whitechapel Bell Foundry planning application for change of use to a boutique hotel while he considers what to do.

If you have not yet written to the Secretary of State, you should do so at once to

Emphasise the national and international significance of the bell foundry and point out that the planning application causes ‘substantial harm’ to an important heritage asset. Explain there is a viable scheme to continue the Whitechapel Bell Foundry as a proper working foundry and ask him to hold a Public Inquiry.


You may also like to read about

A Letter to the Secretary of State

The Fate of the Whitechapel Bell Foundry

Save Our Bell Foundry

A Bell-Themed Boutique Hotel?

Nigel Taylor, Tower Bell Manager

Benjamin Kipling, Bell Tuner

Four Hundred Years at the Whitechapel Bell Foundry

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



24 Responses leave one →
  1. December 4, 2019

    I am so glad the secretary of state has stepped in, lets hope it amounts to something.

    I was born in Bethnal green in 1953 and my family ran the Cura café in Spitalfields on the corner
    of Commercial street and Folgate street up until they retired back to Italy in 1974.
    I have very fond memories of growing up in such a wonderful and diverse area and it saddens me when I see amazing old buildings being sacrificed for the sake of a few dollars.

    Carry on the great work

    Kind regards

  2. December 4, 2019

    Sent, in fervent hopes.

  3. December 4, 2019

    What great news, GA!!!! I am beyond relieved.

  4. Jill Wilson permalink
    December 4, 2019

    Woo hoo! Some good news at last….

  5. Sue Stollery permalink
    December 4, 2019

    Brilliant news!!…letter sent…..

  6. Evelyn Humphreys permalink
    December 4, 2019

    Great news! Hopefully a reprieve for this historic foundry – who needs another boutique hotel? Congrats & thanks to all involved on behalf of the community, well done!

  7. December 4, 2019

    Brilliant news. Well done to all.

  8. December 4, 2019

    Letter sent….another glimmer of hope on the horizon.
    Well done to everyone involved.

  9. shirley moodie permalink
    December 4, 2019

    fantastic news! keep on fighting the good fight!

  10. Milo Bell permalink
    December 4, 2019

    Excellent news. Onwards and upwards.

  11. Jennifer Newbold permalink
    December 4, 2019

    That’s the best news I’ve heard all day! Granted, it’s only 5:30 am in New England, but I couldn’t ask for a better wake up. Huzzah! Progress! Let’s keep up the momentum and hope for the best.

  12. December 4, 2019

    Excellent news, hope at last!

  13. Peter Smith permalink
    December 4, 2019

    Brilliant! It is so important that we recognise London’s magnificent diversity and heritage. It should be preserved and allowed to evolve rather than turned into themed tourist/visitor sites.

  14. Nicola permalink
    December 4, 2019

    Well done GA for not giving up on this and achieving a temporary reprieve. I will get a letter sent!

  15. Sofia permalink
    December 4, 2019

    Excellent news, will do my letter today. I bet you never imagined that by doing a blog you would end up campaigning for such worthy causes. Congratulations and well done to you and all the people behind this. Best wishes

  16. Mary G permalink
    December 4, 2019

    Well done GA! A glimmer of light on the horizon. Letter sent.

  17. December 4, 2019

    I have just written to the Secretary of State as requested
    Paul Phillips, Helston, Cornwall.

  18. December 4, 2019

    Such good news.

  19. William MacCormac permalink
    December 5, 2019

    Doesn’t help that the Council are one of the most corrupt in the country

  20. Sue Mayer permalink
    December 5, 2019

    I have sent my letter. It is good to know that there is still hope.

  21. December 5, 2019

    This is the street where Shakespeare walked and wrote of bells tolling
    These are the bells that Chaucer described

    Whitechapel bells have pealed across our nation for centuries
    Proclaiming victory over the Armada
    Victory over the Nazis
    A new Millennium

    They have rung around the world
    Freedom in Philadelphia
    Remembrance by the Twin Towers

    They have called people to worship in tiny village churches
    And mighty Cathedrals and Abbeys
    Not just here
    But throughout our dominions
    In Canada, Australia, New Zealand…

    These are the bells sung of by generations of children
    The bells of St Clements and the Great Bell of Bow

    I owe you five farthings, say the bells of St Martins
    We owe the bells of Whitechapel recognition, preservation, and a future

    Please sir, save England’s bells

  22. December 5, 2019

    Long and detailed piece on the Daily Mail website, loads of great photos including visits to the foundry by the Queen and earlier royals and comment by UKHBPT.

    I don’t think I’ve ever been so happy to read anything in the papers

  23. mlaiuppa permalink
    December 6, 2019

    Good on The Daily Mail. That is the kind of exposure this entire debacle needs. To show up the atrocity that boutique hotel will render and to imply the extent of corruption of the Tower Hamlets. The procedures they followed were questionable if not downright illegal.

    Keep up the pressure.

    But don’t forget to take over the Council by putting your own people on the council. It’s the only way to stop the cancer spreading through your community and halt the loss of heritage sites and bastardization of your historic buildings with “façadism.”

    Follow up those e-mails with hard copy letters. For every hard copy letter they assume 100 others to feel the same way but not have written. So hard copies count. Hand write them if you can and use pastel paper so they aren’t all white. Different pastels will stand out in a stack of papers.

    Yes, I have been through this before in Southern California. We don’t have the heritage and history you do, but we fight to save what little we have.

    Boy, I would sure like some investigative reporter to do some digging and find some connections between the developers and council members. From the description of the meeting, it sounds like there was some back door mutual hand washing going on at the very least.

  24. Ann Ball permalink
    December 10, 2019

    We at Shoreham Church in Kent petition the retention of the bell fiundry as an essential support for parishes like ours as they have always helped to keep our bells ringing. In 1982 our 8 bells came up to the foundry and have been ringing ever since.

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