The Whitechapel Bell Foundry in London made Big Ben, the Liberty Bell, and the Bells of St. Mary's. It has sent bells all over the world since the business opened in 1570. The foundry has been at the same Whitechapel location since 1783. But now owners Alan and Kathryn Hughes have announced that they will no longer take new orders, and the firm will close down next May.
It has been several centuries since the boom years of bell making, yet the foundry has found ways of adapting to modern times by making traditional doorbells, popular among people restoring Victorian properties.
The Downton effect has seen a third of its business exported overseas.
However, quality craftsmanship takes time. The average time from enquiry to order is 11 years, and the longest commission in the foundry’s history took 100 years to produce.
Order to installation takes another year, and a major project could cost as much as £250,000 to produce.
It's still possible that someone else will purchase the equipment and keep producing bells at another location. Read more about the oldest bell foundry in the world at the Telegraph. -Thanks, John Farrier!
(Image credit: ceridwen)