As auction looms, a petition to save foundry where Liberty Bell was cast

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The British metal foundry where the Liberty Bell was cast may soon close its doors after 277 years.


The owners of the Whitechapel Bell Foundry, which also made London’s Big Ben, have sold their buildings to a developer and plan to close the site in May, but they hope to sell the business so that it can resume operations at another location.

Now preservationists have asked the owner to defer the current sale and an April 6 auction for a few months, to give them time to acquire the business and the assets at market value.


About 9,000 people have signed a petition asking the owners to delay the auction of the contents of the foundry.

“We the undersigned wish to publicly register our very serious concern about the imminent loss of the Whitechapel Bell Foundry,” the petition begins.

The petition goes on to note that bells have been made at Whitechapel since the 1570s. It is just one of two remaining bell foundries in Britain.

“We are very concerned that we will lose not only specialized jobs and skills, but that this type of business and trade is part of the historic essence of our towns and cities. How is Britain allowing this national treasure to slip through our fingers?” the petition asked.

In a letter, the UK Heritage Building Preservation Trust, along with a number of other groups including The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB), The Ancient Monuments Society, The Council for British Archaeology have also asked the Historic England organization to list the buildings so “they are given the highest protection possible and the national and international recognition they deserve.”




Real estate values have soared in the East London neighborhood where the foundry has operated since 1759. The business itself dates to 1570, during the reign of Elizabeth I.

The foundry made what would become the Liberty Bell for the Pennsylvania Statehouse in 1752. It cracked when it was first rung and was twice recast in Philadelphia. The current crack dates from the first half of the 19th century.




Big Ben was made in 1856, but it too cracked and was recast in 1858.




















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