Loughborough Bellfoundry restoration out to tender

Loughborough Bellfoundry (Image: Tommy Pengilley)

Loughborough Bellfoundry has secured funding for £5m works to protect the Grade II* listed buildings and museum.

Since the closure of the Whitechapel bell foundry in London in 2017, Loughborough’s foundry – also known as John Taylor’s Bellfoundry – is the last one standing.

Bell founding cannot generate enough revenue to sustain the original foundry site, so the Loughborough Bellfoundry Trust has spent the last six years preparing plans to save the industrial heritage. Restoration plans have been drawn up by a team led by Caroe Architecture. The trust has funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund (£3.45m), John Taylor & Co and public donations.

Next stage of the Saving the Last Major Bellfoundry in Britain project is under way as contractors are invited to tender for a programme of capital works to protect and enhance the buildings.

Since the present bell foundry was built in 1859, it has cast more than 25,000 bells for more than 100 countries – from London’s St Paul’s Cathedral to Washington National Cathedral in the USA, and from the National Carillon in Canberra, Australia to Cape Town City Hall in South Africa.

Works are expected to begin later this year and complete towards the end of 2023. Main contractors are invited to submit their proposals by the deadline of 16th May 2022.

The programme of works will include reconfiguration of the buildings’ archive room, office spaces and workshop facilities, as well as the creation of a new entrance into the historic site. The museum will be improved by increasing its footprint to incorporate additional exhibition space and room for an administration office.

Chrissie Van Mierlo, museum director at the Loughborough Bellfoundry Trust, said: “The works are going to preserve and protect these historic and important buildings for years to come and provide a wonderful place for people to visit and learn about the highly specialised craftsmanship that the process of bellfounding entails.

“Our vision is for Loughborough Bellfoundry to become the global centre for the art of bell making and learning. We have been very fortunate to have benefitted from funding over the years to address the most urgent repair and conservation works required, and we’re thrilled to be in a position to enter the next stage of this project to secure the legacy of the Bellfoundry’s bells for future generations.”

For further information, visit Procurement of construction works – Contracts Finder

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