In June and July 2016, I had the immense joy to visit London and stay with my dear friends Melinda and Ben. Mel surprised me one day by taking me to Whitechapel to see the famous Whitechapel Bell Foundry on June 29, 2016 – four years ago today!
This foundry dates back to 1570, and was the oldest manufacturing company in Great Britain at the time of its closing in 2017. They created the original cast of the Liberty Bell in 1752! It was such a wonderful surprise trip and amazing way to find some American history in England. This foundry also created the original cast for Big Ben, which resides in the Elizabeth Tower at the Houses of Parliament. Primarily, the Whitechapel Bell Foundry made church bells, tolling bells, carillon bells, and handbells.
I am even more grateful I was able to visit the Whitechapel Bell Foundry when I did, as in June 2017, their doors were closed after 450 years of business — with 250 years of operation at the Whitechapel site. It was truly a site where history came alive for me, and I am immensely grateful for Mel taking me there one sunny London afternoon!
Watch the video below to see my nerdy joy and excitement with Mel, as we went to the place that created such an iconic symbol of America.
The Whitechapel Bell Foundry stopped manufacturing at this site in 2017, however, the company relocated and still exists today. They are hoping to return to their home on Whitechapel Road, and continue to manufacture bells, but now with public access so we can witness the process! Learn more, and support their efforts to reopen in Whitechapel by clicking here.