Sunday, 18 December 2016

Give us a bell

I made a pilgrimage to the Whitechapel Bell Foundry earlier this year. It's a place I'd always wanted to visit, and I wasn't disappointed. We were given a warm welcome, and enjoyed the fading museum exhibits which tell of its impressive history. The shop was a delight - you're allowed to ring a selection of small bells, and I bought a tiny tourist bell as a memento of my visit. So I was sad to see the recent news that its future is uncertain. Activities will cease on the Whitechapel site, in the East End of London, by May 2017 and negotiations are underway to settle the future of the business. 

As the signs say, the business was established in 1570 and it has been on Whitechapel Road since 1738. Spanning the reigns of 27 English monarchs, it's Britain's oldest manufacturing company. The Liberty Bell and Big Ben were cast here. Ask not for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee.