W is for Whitechapel Foundry
I’m doing the A to Z Challenge in April, using the theme of the UK & Ireland. For W, I’m lamenting the loss of Whitechapel Foundry.
Britain’s oldest manufacturer began making church tower bells in the 1500s in Whitechapel, a district in the East End of London infamous as the area of the Jack the Ripper murders. Whitechapel Foundry made some of the world’s most famous bells, including Big Ben in Westminster Palace and America’s own Liberty Bell.
I became fascinated by British bell-ringing before my trip in 2014. At that time, I learned that the Whitechapel Foundry offered occasional hard hat tours of their manufacturing center. Unfortunately, it was too late to plan to be in London for a tour during that trip. A tour of Whitechapel Foundry has been high on my wish list for the next trip since then. But I missed my chance.
Here are all the posts where I learned about, and heard, the British style of ringing tower bells:
- Lessons in bell-ringing from videos
- Bell-ringing as a major subplot of Doomsday Book by Connie Willis
- The climb to the bells in Bath Abbey
- Bells on a Sunday morning at St. Martin in the Bull Ring in Birmingham
- Bells on a Sunday morning in Trafalgar Square
- Bell-ringing as the theme of a Lord Peter Wimsey mystery, Nine Tailors by Dorothy Sayers
According to the April 2017 press release about the closing of the Whitechapel Foundry, many of the artifacts have been donated to the Museum of London in the hopes that they will one day have an exhibit about the long history of manufacturing bells in Whitechapel. So, I may yet have the opportunity to learn what I hoped to learn from a tour.
Have you heard bells ringing in the British style?
Sorry about the missed opportunity but hopefully the museum will have that exhibit and you can attend. If I admit that I do not know what the British style of bell ringing is, does that mean I have not heard it?
Emily In Ecuador
Come to think of it, you may well have heard British church bells in movies or on TV, without ever knowing what the British style of bell ringing is. The videos in my first post about bells help make it clear: http://www.joyweesemoll.com/2014/08/10/change-bell-ringing-in-the-british-isles-sundaysalon/ And, they may sound familiar!