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A Public Inquiry For The Bell Foundry

January 23, 2020
by the gentle author


I am overjoyed to publish the news that – further to the Holding Order that he issued in December – yesterday Robert Jenrick, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities & Local Government announced there will be a Public Inquiry into the future of the Whitechapel Bell Foundry.

After three years of campaigning and all the letters that you the readers of Spitalfields Life have written, this is a highly gratifying result.

The UK Historic Building Preservation have been invited to present their proposal for the future of the Whitechapel Bell Foundry as a proper working foundry at the Public Inquiry. This will redress the glaring omission at Tower Hamlets Planning Committee Meeting when this scheme was passed over without due attention in favour of the bell-themed boutique hotel. The hotel developers and their planning consultants may have been able to walk all over the council, but they will not be able to do the same at a Public Inquiry

When announcing the call-in yesterday, Robert Jenrick wrote, ‘In general, planning applications are only called-in if planning issues of more than local importance are involved.’ This comment reveals the Secretary of State’s recognition of the Whitechapel Bell Foundry’s national and international significance.

We will keep you informed once the date for the Public Inquiry is set and report upon it as it progresses. At this moment, let us celebrate that we now have real hope of saving the Whitechapel Bell Foundry to cast bells here in the East End for future generations to ring across the world.


You may also like to read about

The Secretary of State steps in

A Letter to the Secretary of State

Rory Stewart Supports Our Campaign 

Casting a Bell at Here East

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

44 Responses leave one →
  1. Bill Goodall permalink
    January 23, 2020

    Bravo! Welcome and exciting news.

  2. James Hurley permalink
    January 23, 2020

    Congratulations – a good result so far.

  3. Nicola permalink
    January 23, 2020

    Let the bells ring out! I can only say I let out a shriek at the notification flashing on my screen at 6.30 this morning – doesn’t happen often.

  4. jane Jones permalink
    January 23, 2020

    Fingers crossed! In the firm hope of a positive outcome, perhaps there is the possibility of a double whammy here – twinning up with France’s magnificent foundry at Villedieu les Poeles? Hello Europe again?

  5. Caroline Bottomley permalink
    January 23, 2020

    Thanks GA for being a champion & a conduit
    Creating the proper working foundry makes so much sense
    Fingers crossed for the next steps

  6. Helen Read permalink
    January 23, 2020

    That’s wonderful news! Thank you for your perseverance and your commitment to save this historic site. I am related to John Warner & Sons who cast the initial bell prior to the current bell being cast at Whitechapel Bell Foundry and for me, this feels personal.

  7. Jill Wilson permalink
    January 23, 2020


    The council meeting was so unfair that it is only right that UKHBPT should be given a proper opportunity to present their case for the alternative scheme.

    Let the bells ring out…

  8. Elizabeth LeMoine permalink
    January 23, 2020

    Hooray! Thank you for that very good news.

  9. January 23, 2020


  10. daphne steele permalink
    January 23, 2020

    What wonderful news!- Now hopefully democracy and justice will prevail and history will be regarded as more important than crass financial considerations. Well done to everyone for working so hard over the years to achieve this result which gives us hope.

  11. Coralie mattys permalink
    January 23, 2020

    F A B U L O U S!!!! Well deserved result after all your efforts.

  12. Greta Kelly permalink
    January 23, 2020

    What wonderful news! To the GA and all those who fought for this!


  13. January 23, 2020

    Well done. I wish you every success in your continuing efforts to preserve this historic foundry and look forward to read your updates.

  14. January 23, 2020

    This is wonderful news for all your readers today!
    GA …you have been so influential in getting the ‘battle’ this far, thank you.
    Now we have a good chance that there might be RING not BLING at The Whitechapel Bell Foundry in the future.

  15. Sue Mayer permalink
    January 23, 2020

    This is great news. Thank goodness somebody has listened to us at long last. Thank you GA for bringing the original plan for the foundry to our attention.

  16. January 23, 2020

    This is wonderful news. Whilst I understand that modernity has to happen, this is a historic establishment that is integral to London. Excellent news.

  17. January 23, 2020

    Wonderful to learn such very good news. Congratulations, and well done for all your hard work and dedication to such a valuable cause

  18. January 23, 2020

    Fantastic news, and congratulations on your part in this.

    I really thought it was a lost cause, I can’t remember the last time a SoS called in a plan after it had been granted

  19. Mary permalink
    January 23, 2020

    Well done GA, this is wonderful news!
    You have an army of followers standing shoulder to shoulder with you, however we must not let down our guard. I have a feeling we have not heard the last of Bippy Siegal.
    On a slightly different tack, is there any news of the Bethnal Green Mulberry?

  20. Stephanie Rozenbloom permalink
    January 23, 2020

    Great news!
    Well done with all of your hard work for a wonderful cause.

  21. January 23, 2020

    Hurrah and huzzah! This is thrilling news.
    GA, you spread hope and optimism every day – Thanks for all your efforts, and the activism that
    you encourage.

    Applauding here, pre-dawn, in the Hudson River Valley.

  22. paul loften permalink
    January 23, 2020

    Why is it that my morning coffee tastes so much better when reading good news ? The battle is not yet won but I believe the bells of victory will soon be ringing.

  23. January 23, 2020

    Given the neo-colonialism that has ‘flat’tened so much of our historic East End – my lot were Huguenot refugees from Louis XIV, this is welcome news. Let’s hope it’s not just window-dressing for something much nastier.

  24. Annie P M permalink
    January 23, 2020

    I’m overjoyed. The historical and cultural significance of the Whitechapel Bell Foundry has to be preserved and the casting of bells continue. Shame on Tower Hamlets!

  25. Jennifer Newbold permalink
    January 23, 2020


    Congratulations to you, G. A., and to everyone who has stood behind this effort. This is how government should work. (I wish I could say the same about it over here on this side of the pond.)

    I will continue to hope for a good outcome!

  26. Cynthia l. White BA PhD permalink
    January 23, 2020

    I am delighted and relieved to learn that the future of the Whitechapel Bell Foundry, surely a national treasure given its historical and cultural importance, is now to be given proper scrutiny following the Secretary of State’s Order. I will always remember touring it as a working foundry in the 1970s and marvelling at its contribution to bell-ringing on a world-wide scale. I felt proud and privileged that we had such an institution in Tower Hamlets (where I was teaching degree-level Social History) to showcase this country’s skills and bring our national heritage to life. Dr. Cynthia White

  27. anna permalink
    January 23, 2020

    Brilliant news and great to know that we CAN win against currupt planners and developers!! Bravo and thanks to everyone on the front line of this campaign!

  28. Gregg permalink
    January 23, 2020

    “Ding Dong” as Leslie Phillips would say.

  29. Su C. permalink
    January 23, 2020

    Yes! Excellent morning news!

  30. Terry C Wendell permalink
    January 23, 2020

    Fantastic news

  31. Peter Metaxas permalink
    January 23, 2020

    Thumbs up, way up! Put the champagne on ice or any other beverage suitable for the occasion.

  32. Gayle permalink
    January 23, 2020


  33. January 23, 2020

    Wonderful and hopeful news. Fingers crossed for a good decision.

  34. Pauline Taylor permalink
    January 23, 2020

    Hurrah. Congratulations to everyone who has worked so hard to achieve this result and especially to you GA. I hope so much that a just reward will be forthcoming and the bell foundry will be saved. Well done.

  35. Rachel Blaylock permalink
    January 24, 2020

    Very good news, well done! Though sorry to say I am holding my breath because I have experienced public enquiries before and been terribly disappointed. But am holding on to hope. Thank you to everyone who has put in the hard work for the bell foundry.

  36. Dalcy Gripich permalink
    January 24, 2020

    Wonderful news! Watching the proceedings from Canada!

  37. January 24, 2020

    Thank you so much GA for all your efforts and for passing on this good news.
    Let’s hope all will be well…

  38. January 24, 2020

    Brilliant news. Thank you so much for your efforts in promoting such activism in the defence of our historic environment. Without your publicity all these causes would be unknown to the wider world. So we can hope again…but not give up the fight yet.

  39. Charlie Ringrose permalink
    January 24, 2020

    What a result! Your hard work is about to pay off at last! Thank you.

  40. Peter permalink
    January 24, 2020

    Excellent news! But still not saved. Well done GA.

  41. January 24, 2020

    Hurray! Fantastic news.

  42. Peter Holford permalink
    January 24, 2020

    Remarkable – there is intelligence in government after all. I didn’t expect this. There is now a chance that the right decision will be made.

  43. Bruce Mack permalink
    January 25, 2020

    Something precious is being saved. Bravo England.

  44. January 25, 2020

    Thank goodness. Let’s hope that justice prevails. The bell foundry is so worth fighting for. I hope it can once again be a working foundry for many years to come, the way I remember it.
    Well done for this campaign. So thrilled.

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