Locals in a ding dong over hotel plan for historic bell foundry


Plans to transform the historic bell factory where the bells for Big Ben were made, into a new luxury hotel, have been met with strong opposition from locals.

The famous Whitechapel Bell Foundry, which has been operating since 1740s, was sold last year by fourth-generation bell-founder Alan and Kathryn Hughes to US investor Raycliff, who are now bidding to transform the building into a new luxury hotel.

The factory closed for business in 2017.

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The UK Historical Preservation Trust, originally founded by Prince Charles, is fighting the new owner, who helped fund Soho House for council approval to convert the business.

If given the green light, the plan would see Raycliff build a new 95-bedroom hotel at the rear of the building, while restoring the vital parts of the Grade-II listed structure into a public attraction.

There would also be a shop selling hand bells produced by Kathryn Hughes and a café that would be bell themed.

The Whitechapel Bell Foundry has made some of the world’s most famous bells, including the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia, and bells in Westminster Abbey and Big Ben.

Tower Hamlets council are to make a decision on the plan today, with protesters expected to be out in full force.

Tags : hotelslocalsLondon.oppositionplansRaycliffwhitechapel Bell Foundry
Zoe Monk

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