Operating on this site since the 1740s, the Whitechapel Bell Foundry was responsible for the creation of some of the world’s most famous bells, including Big Ben and the original Liberty Bell. However, the demand for church bells declined year on year while the costs of employment and keeping up with manufacturing legislation and insurances continued to rise. The buildings are also in need of extensive upgrading. After years of struggling against economic pressures and the high cost of maintaining the listed premises, the current directors of the Whitechapel Bell Foundry Ltd, Alan and Kathryn Hughes, took the decision to sell the premises and to redistribute the business in order to ensure the continuation of its products into the future.
Whitechapel Bell Foundry Ltd continues as a company and owns all the pattern equipment and tooling for the manufacture of tower bells, musical handbells, clock bells and small presentation bells as well as the company’s extensive archives. The Westley Group, based in Stoke on Trent, continues the manufacture of tower bells under licence and Bells Of Whitechapel Ltd continues the production and maintenance of musical handbells and small bells. The archives are being conserved at the London Metropolitan Archives to allow public access to the collection at the expense of Whitechapel Bell Foundry Ltd. Most of the skilled employees formerly employed at Whitechapel are re-employed within the industry. John Taylor & Company, based in Loughborough, continue to cast new tower bells.
As part of our work to ensure the traditions of the site are reinstated, we are working closely with the Hughes family who ran the Foundry for over 100 years, as well as other groups. Together we will work to ensure that the art and celebration of bell founding remains prominent in the site’s future.
We held a community-wide consultation on Friday 22nd and Saturday 23rd June on the proposals for the design, layout and uses of the site. Click here to find out more about the consultation.
If you would like to be involved in the ongoing consultation or have any questions in the meantime, please email email@example.com or call 0800 298 704.