UK's Whitechapel Bell foundry chimes out after almost 500 years

05 December 2016

The oldest manufacturing firm in the UK, The Whitechapel Bell foundry, established in 1570,is set to cbring an end to a family business that had run for  almost 500 years.

The foundry,  which made the iconic Big Ben at Westminster , will stop trading at Whitechapel Road in London next year.

The company said it intended to complete all projects it currently had on hand but would not take new contracts while discussions about its ''future'' were ongoing.

Owners Alan and Kathryn Hughes, whose family had been the owners since 1904, said they made the  decision to shut down with a ''heavy heart''.

They said, ''We have made this decision in response to the changing realities of running a business of this kind, Scotland's The Herald reported. 

The Bell Foundry in Whitechapel had changed hands many times, but it had been a family business all along.

''The business has been at its present site over 250 years. So it is probably about time it moved once again.''

Whitechapel's history spans the reign of 27 monarchs, and the business is listed in the Guinness Book Of Records as the oldest manufacturing firm in the UK. The business had been based in Whitechapel Road since 1738, and its most famous creation was Big Ben, the bell in the Palace of Westminster.

The business will close in May next year. 

In May the famous foundry would have cast its last bell after 447 years in business.  

Members of the Royal Family - including the Queen and Prince Charles had conducted a number of visits to the foundry and in 2012, Prince Charles saw eight bells being made at the site to mark the Jubilee celebrations.

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