Refurbishment of Loughborough Bellfoundry

Loughborough Bellfoundry, Britains last remaining bell foundry, has secured funding to protect the Grade 11 listed buildings and museum, and contracts have now been invited to tender for this refurbishment.

The production of bells does not generate enough revenue to be able to sustain the original foundry site, therefore, the Loughborough Bellfoundry Trust has during the last six years prepared plans to save the industrial heritage. The trust has acquired funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, John Taylor & Co together with public donations. The restoration project has had plans drawn up by a team led by Caroe Architecture.

Contractors have now been invited to tender for a programme of capital works to protect and improve the buildings. The present bell foundry was built in 1859 and is thought to have cast in excess of 25,000 bells for many countries all over the world from St Paul’s Cathedral, London, Washington National Cathedral in the USA, National Carillon in Canberra Australia and Cape Town City Hall in South Africa.

It is hoped work will commence on this current project later this year with completion planned towards the end of 2023. Main contractors are asked to submit their proposals by the deadline of 16th May 2022.

The work planned will include reconfiguration of the buildings’ archive room, office spaces, workshop facilities together with the creation of a new entrance into the historic site. Additional exhibition space and room for an administration office are also planned.

Museum director at the Loughborough Bellfoundry Trust, Chrissie Van Mierlo said: “This work will preserve and protect these historic important buildings and provide an exciting place for people to visit and learn about what is considered highly specialised craftmanship that is bellfoundry”.

“The vision is for Loughborough Bellfoundry to be recognised as a global centre for the art of bell making and learning. To have benefitted from funding over the years has made us very appreciative of being able to address the repair and conservation works needed and we are excited to be able to look forward to the next stage of this project which will secure the legacy of the Bellfoundry’s bells for future generations”.