Before closing in 2017, the 16th-century Whitechapel Bell Foundry in London was the longest-running manufacturing business in Great Britain, operating for over 450 years. Over that time, it produced some of the most famous bells in the world.
Big Ben, the U.K.’s most iconic bell, and the Liberty Bell, one of the most enduring symbols in the U.S., were both cast at this bell foundry. But historic bells aren’t the only claim to fame; the September 11th memorial bell, 2012 Olympic bell, and the Diamond Jubilee bells were all cast in the last couple of decades of the foundry’s long life. Other Whitechapel Foundry bells can be found in churches all across Britain, and as far afield as India and Australia.
Plans are in the works to turn the once industrialized factory building into a luxury hotel or stylish apartments. So far, no agreement has been reached between the building’s current owners and developers. For now, only the exterior and some remnants of the factory’s illustrious career are visible.
Know Before You Go
The building is on the corner of Fieldgate Street and Whitechapel Road, near the Tesco Express.
The name of the foundry can be seen on both the front and side of the building, where there is a large hook.
The nearest underground station is Aldgate East. There is step-free access from Whitechapel underground station, which is several hundred yards to the east. The building facade can be seen at any time.