Public Planning Inquiry - Whitechapel Bell Foundry
On 13th May 2021, the Secretary of State approved the development of a boutique hotel on the site of the historic Whitechapel Bell Foundry. Re-Form Heritage, Factum Foundation and its many partners and supporters are deeply disappointed by the decision.
Please click here to read Re-Form Heritage's response to the decision.
Please click here to access our closing statement, on behalf of Rupert Warren QC and Matthew Dale-Harris.
We wish to thank all 27,000 people who signed the petition, our supporters in the community, the readers of the Spitalfields Life blog, and all those who have worked with us in our attempt to preserve and revitalise Britain’s oldest single-purpose industrial building.
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RE-FORM HERITAGE AND THE FUTURE OF WHITECHAPEL BELL FOUNDRY
Whitechapel Bell Foundry is the UK’s oldest continuous manufacturing business and one of its finest cultural and heritage assets. Established in 1570, the foundry is famed across the world, having manufactured Big Ben, the Liberty Bell and Bow Bells amongst many thousands of other bells still in daily use.
The Whitechapel Bell Foundry site was acquired in 2017 for development as a commercial hotel and hospitality venue. In January 2019, Raycliff Whitechapel LLP submitted development plans to Tower Hamlets Council for consideration. The plans incorrectly presume that the site is no longer viable as a working foundry and aim to turn this iconic manufacturing site into a boutique hotel. The hotel conversion plans were approved for planning consent in November 2019 and have subsequently been ‘called in’ for review by the Rt. Hon. Robert Jenrick MP. This means the future of the Whitechapel Bell Foundry site will be subject to a public inquiry.
Re-Form Heritage and Factum Foundation have produced ‘Saved by the Bell’ a comprehensive report which demonstrates that the ‘optimum viable use’ of the continuation of foundry work is possible and commercially robust. Combining the extensive heritage regeneration experience of Re-Form Heritage and the modern casting and founding expertise of Factum Foundation, the proposal offers an alternative that continues to celebrate Whitechapel Bell Foundry’s manufacturing tradition and protects against the site’s inappropriate development as a hotel.
The campaign is working to:
- reinstate modern and sustainable foundry activity on the site
- preserve and record heritage skills
- integrate new technologies with traditional foundry techniques
- maintain and build pride in Whitechapel’s bell founding heritage
Engagement with the public inquiry process is expensive. We are therefore asking those that value the UK’s unique industrial and cultural heritage to support the campaign by making a donation. You can donate to save Whitechapel Bell Foundry by completing the form below. All donations are gratefully received. Re-Form Heritage, registered charity number: 1059662.
A community-led campaign backing the proposal from Re-Form Heritage and Factum Foundation is underway. You can get involved on social media via @SavetheWbF and #SavetheWBF
The 'Save the Whitechapel Bell Foundry' campaign is receiving international support. Read the comments online and here