I'm blogging adventures that I've done in the past. This trip to the Whitechapel Bell Foundry took place in August 2008. It's an extremely popular place to visit and the waiting list is a long one. If you book expect to wait several months to see it.
The foundry was founded in 1570 and is Britain's oldest manufacturer. It is in the East End of London in Whitechapel. It is believed that is was originally on a site across the road and that was founded early in the fifteenth century.
The tour starts in the front of the shop and we are taken through to the back of the building where the guide tells us that the back wall we are looking at is the oldest part of the building and dates from the 17th century.
I immediately got a sense of the history once we had got to the yard and there were bells littering the floor. We were shown around by Mike, the man standing in the door, he has worked here for donkey's years.
The bell hanging on the wall on Mike's left was from someone who had visited Burma and acquired this bell. He gave the bell to the foundry to melt down but they liked it so much they kept it instead.
Big Ben and the Liberty Bell were cast here.
These shapes on the wall were used for Big Ben and the Bow Bells.
The shelves where all the tools are kept. One of the things that really pleased me was the total disregard for "Health and Safety" rules. It really is like walking around in another age when common sense still ruled supreme.
This is a side view of the foundry. After the tour you get a chance to buy goodies in the shop and I bought a little bell that makes the most wonderful tinkling sound.
There are loads more photo's on my page at flickr, here's the link
If you have nothing better to do then make the effort to email them and book a visit here
But be warned, tours for 2010 are fully booked so plan ahead!