Big Ben's big bells - they're on the move

March 22, 2017

The UK’s oldest manufacturing business – which cast Big Ben and the Liberty Bell – is on the move for the first time since 1739

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/dec/02/whitechapel-bell-foundry-to-ring-in-new-era-as-owner-sells-site

In our research for Antenna audioguides, we interview several people who work behind the scenes at the clients we partner with. One of the most fascinating stories was the interview with the current Keeper of the Great Clock – in other words the person who looks after Big Ben (in addition to over 2,000 other mechanical clocks on site that require hand winding).

In London we’re very familiar with the resonant bongs of our favourite clock. The bell itself has a fascinating history. The first bell, after a hazardous sea journey from the north of England, was set up on the south bank of the Thames to be tested, and duly cracked. It was then melted down and recast by the Whitechapel Bell Foundry, and installed in St. Stephen’s Tower, where it has kept Londoners on time for over 150 years. 

Whilst bells aren’t exactly high tech, let’s hope we’re not “dropping a clanger” by allowing the Whitechapel Foundry in the East End to leave the city which has revolved around the sounds of its bells for centuries.

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