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Opening Of The Bell Foundry Public Inquiry

October 6, 2020
by the gentle author


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Design by David Pearson with logo by Rob Ryan and type by Paul Barnes


For four years we have been campaigning here at Spitalfields Life to keep the age-old culture of bell founding alive in the East End and today we take a big step towards this goal. At the opening of the Public Inquiry, I wish to announce THE LONDON BELL FOUNDRY as the name for the revived, fully-working foundry that will replace the Whitechapel Bell Foundry which closed in 2017.

Records of bell founding in Whitechapel date back to 1360, with a line of bell founders stretching back to 1420. In all these centuries, the foundry has had many up and downs. It has been known by many names from Lester, Pack & Chapman in the eighteenth century to Mears & Stainbank in the nineteenth century, with the most recent being the Whitechapel Bell Foundry.

Now we look towards its future as THE LONDON BELL FOUNDRY under the management of Re-form Heritage who put Middleport Pottery back on its feet in Stoke as a model of genuine community regeneration. The operating tenants will be Factum Foundation, world leaders in digital casting, who plan to further the art of bell casting in Whitechapel with a marriage of old and new technology. The plan is to create a permanent centre for the celebration and casting of bells, with long-term training and education projects to sustain the skills for generations to come.

The foundry has always cast bells that mark significant moments in the history of our nation and others, from Big Ben and the Liberty Bell to the more recent Jubilee Bells and the largest ever bell, The Olympic 2012 Bell, which was designed, profiled and tuned in Whitechapel.

In line with this tradition, it is proposed that one of the first bells to be cast at THE LONDON BELL FOUNDRY will be the ELIZABETH BELL in celebration of the reign of our current monarch. This will be a replacement for the cracked quarter bell in the Elizabeth Tower at the Palace of Westminster. The current bell of one and a quarter tons will be scanned and the new bell will be traditionally cast from a mould created from a digitally repaired scan, thus establishing the pattern of blending old and new technology which will define the future of the foundry.

The ELIZABETH BELL will be cast under the supervision of Nigel Taylor, Foreman & Tower Bell Manager at the Whitechapel Bell Foundry for forty years, who will be in charge of refitting the foundry and the employment and training of new staff.


We are proud to announce the support of our MP Rushanara Ali and below we publish her submission to the Public Inquiry



Click here to sign our petition to Save the Whitechapel Bell Foundry


You may also like to read about

So Long, Whitechapel Bell Foundry

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?

Hope for The Whitechapel Bell Foundry

A Petition to Save the Bell Foundry

Save the Whitechapel Bell Foundry

Adam Dant’s Bells of Whitechapel


15 Responses leave one →
  1. mlaiuppa permalink
    October 6, 2020

    Oh, use that google map that Maou42 provided provided. This area doesn’t need yet another hotel of any kind.

    But Elizabeth II deserves a bell cast in the White Chapel Bell foundry.

  2. October 6, 2020

    This is both impressive and exciting news. Well done so far

  3. Sue Stamp permalink
    October 6, 2020

    Dear Gentle Author,
    This is absolutely fabulous news, well done all of you! I am signed up to watch the Inquiry live and sending all the positive vibes that I can. As I mentioned when I did the Blog writing course, I took at least 15 groups of RA Friends/Patrons around the Foundry, including Charles Saumarez Smith’s first visit, the tours were often with Alan, the owner, but also with Nigel, so I am thrilled that he will be casting the Elisabeth Bell – cheers to that thought. Very best of luck, Sue

  4. October 6, 2020

    The plans for the London Bell Foundry sound marvellous. Wishing everyone involved luck and success this week.

  5. October 6, 2020

    Signed and shared. Wishing you and the campaign every success.

  6. October 6, 2020

    Dear GA and all others involved in this heroic campaign, very best wishes for the enquiry! It is very cheering to have such forceful support from the local MP; and as I understand it, Historic England, whose role has been disgraceful, will no longer be appearing in support of Raycliff, which suggests that at the last minute they have realised what their remit in this country is supposed to be.

  7. Jill Wilson permalink
    October 6, 2020

    This really is a momentous day for the East End… and a very good letter by MP Rushanara Ali.

    Let’s hope the Raycliff planning permission is over-ruled and firmly rejected as it should be, and that a rejuvenated and proper working Bell Foundry can be re-born on the Whitechapel site.


  8. Eve permalink
    October 6, 2020

    …ask not ‘For whom the bell tolls’? – it tolls for Raycliff’s boutique hotel (hopefully).. good luck to The London Bell Foundry!

  9. October 6, 2020

    Impressive letters; I wish all involved success in this venture.

  10. Wendy Lowe permalink
    October 6, 2020

    This important bell foundry must remain a bell foundry. The only sensible option is to keep this historic jewel founding bells. I trust the right thing will be done by it and London. Let London bells continue to ring out.

  11. Amanda permalink
    October 6, 2020

    MP Rushanara Ali’s excellently worded impactful letter puts forward every essential fact to make it impossible for a ‘gentlemen’s hotel’ to be allowed.

    Well done everyone for your collective sustained effort and such a heartwarming, workable, solid plan. Hurray.

  12. Rachel Blaylock permalink
    October 6, 2020

    This is positive news, I’ve been following and sharing about the foundry’s fate since day one. Signed up but didn’t manage to join the public enquiry this morning but so glad to read this. Let’s consign ‘boutique bell-themed hotel’ to history.

  13. Linda Granfield permalink
    October 6, 2020

    Exciting plans described in the letter.

    Good luck today—and any day you fight for East End preservation.

  14. Ana Cecilia Rupp Quaresma permalink
    October 6, 2020

    I really like your emails ! It is a window in my life. Greetings from Rio de Janeiro, Brasil.

  15. October 6, 2020

    Thanks. I have signed. As it happens, we’ve made a video about the impending desecration of this institution, we’ve already filmed it but won’t be pushing it live until we get more news (hopefully celebratory news). If you would like to see our latest rant, which went live today (talking about the atrocious façadism on the old Cock A Hoop pub on Artillery Lane) you can see it here:

    Later on in the episode we look at Spitalfields Market as well, and moan a bit about how it’s changed. Don’t worry, it’s not all gloomy in our series. Lots of positive stuff about Brick Lane in next couple of episodes due next week.

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