28-year-old photos come into their own
Photographs that I took almost 30 years ago of the Whitechapel Bell Foundry have been published recently in several articles about the proposed future of this historic site.
A battle has been raging about planning permission for the building that housed this famous foundry from 1738 until 2017. This is Britain’s oldest manufacturing company, around since the 1570s, and has cast some of the most famous bells in the world, including the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia and London’s Big Ben. A planning application was approved last month to turn the building into a bell-themed boutique hotel, despite a strong campaign against it.
Yesterday an unexpected temporary intervention came through from the Secretary of State, so there is a chance the building will be saved.
The foundry was an incredible place to photograph. I remember wandering wherever I liked and photographing whatever I liked. No one seemed to mind, or even pay me much attention. The place felt full of history – even the casting methods were ancient and included sand, dung, hair and bone. You can find more of the photos here.