The bell has tolled for London’s most famous foundry after it cast its last set of metal instruments.
Whitechapel Bell Foundry , where Big Ben was made, has wrapped up production this week ahead of closing its door in May.
It’s final bell will go to the Museum of London alongside artefact from its great history.
The foundry is Britain’s oldest manufacturing company, set up in 1570 during the reign of Elizabeth I it moved to Whitechapel Road in 1739 and has traded from the building since.
The company made a name for itself by casting the original Liberty Bell in Philadelphia, the bells of St Paul’s and Westminster Abbey and the peal which rang on the Herald Barge for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee River Pageant in 2012.
It has been owned by the Hughes family since 1904 and directors Alan and Kathryn Hughes said it was with “heavy heart” they made the made the decision to sell the premises.
It came after years of them struggling to make the business financially viable against the high cost of maintaining the Grade II Listed building.
But the family has ensured its great traditions will continue outside of London by selling the manufacturing patents to Oxfordshire bell-hanging company White’s of Appleton, which has worked with the east London foundry for nearly 200 years.
The foundry will also be donating many artefacts including items from the casting of Big Ben in 1858 to the Museum of London. While the bell foundry records are to be given to the London Metropolitan Archives for public for research.
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