IHBC’s ‘Heritage from the doorstep’: Charity hopes to buy back historic Whitechapel Bell Foundry from developers

buildingThe Docklands and East London Advertiser has explored how a charity wants re-open the historic Whitechapel Bell Foundry, following its closure and purchase by developers last year.

image: By Mramoeba – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=53705569

The Docklands and East London Advertiser writes:

The Bell Foundry has been in the Grade II listed building in Whitechapel Road since 1740, but premises were sold in 2016 after rising costs and declining demand made it unviable to stay.

The building was bought by Raycliff in 2017, and in June this year they held a public consultation on proposals for the site. They included a building behind the site housing a hotel, along with office and retail spaces.

But The United Kingdom Historic Building Preservation Trust (UKHBPT) fear the proposals will strip the building of its heritage, and together with not-for-profit conservation group, the Factum Foundation, they’ve set out a different vision for the building, which would see the foundry business continue. Their report, Saved by the Bell, proposes the Factum-UKHBPT partnership acquires the building, re-equips the foundry and restarts bell-making within a year, once emergency repairs to the roof have been carried out.

The partnership would fund the takeover with sponsorship, and then reinstate employees and develop a training sheme for future bell-makers. The report proposes using modern bell-casting techniques to keep the business viable, including 3D recording, 3D printing and state-of-the-art scanning techniques…

A spokesman from Raycliff said: ‘We’ve put together a very experienced heritage-led design team to deliver a new future for the foundry that will include bell founding on the old site.’

Read more….

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