Posted by Survey of London on Dec. 26, 2017
Last December it was announced that the Whitechapel Bell Foundry would close in May 2017, and this year has witnessed its closure and the end of what has been a remarkable story. Business cards claim the bell foundry as ‘Britain’s oldest manufacturing company’ and ‘the world’s most famous bell foundry’ – the first not readily contradicted, the second unverifiable but plausible. The business, principally the making of church bells, had operated continuously in Whitechapel since at least the 1570s. It had been on its present site with the existing house and office buildings since the mid 1740s. Derek Kendall's wintry photographs of the bell foundry in 2010 provide an insight into its historic buildings and the preservation of traditional craftsmanship until its closure. If you would like to read the Survey's full account, please click here to find the draft text.
Shopfront at the east end of 32–34 Whitechapel Road in 2010. (© Historic England Archive, photographed by Derek Kendall)
Inner yard of the bell foundry, looking north-west in 2010. (© Historic England Archive, photographed by Derek Kendall)
Tuning shop in 2010. (© Historic England Archive, photographed by Derek Kendall)
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