The Loughborough Bellfoundry Trust has received initial National Lottery support* for the restoration of the historic Taylor’s Bellfoundry in Loughborough it was announced on Tuesday 2nd October.
Made possible by National Lottery players, the project aims to restore key parts of the Grade II* listed building which is currently on the Historic England Heritage at Risk Register. The aim is to restore the buildings, enhance the commercial operation, attract more visitors and increase awareness and understanding of the importance of Taylor’s
Development funding of £298,600 has been awarded by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to help the Loughborough Bellfoundry Trust progress the plans. This is the first phase in a bid for £3.7 million from the HLF, which it is proposed will be matched with funding from a number of sources including a fund raising campaign which will be launched shortly. Subject to a successful second round bid, work is expected to start on the Bellfoundry in 2020.
There will be a wide range of opportunities for people to be involved with the project at the Bellfoundry, including heritage craft workshops, volunteering and arts and cultural events.
Taylor’s is the last bellfoundry in Britain, the only vestige of an ancient industry that creates bells for thousands of buildings around the world. At least 20 million people in Britain and hundreds of millions worldwide will hear a Taylor bell every day.
However, the purpose-built Victorian bellfoundry is At Risk. Without urgent repairs and fundamental changes to engagement, we will lose this incredible asset and part of our culture; a massive loss to traditional craftmanship and a seismic impact on historic buildings around the world.
This project will; save the site, removing it from the HAR register, secure the future of the industry in Britain and its unique skills, create a National Bell Museum, improve global engagement and ensure Taylor bells are enjoyed by future generations across the globe.
Commenting on the award, Andrew Wilby, a Trustee of the Loughborough Bellfoundry Trust said “ We are delighted that we have received this support, thanks to National Lottery players. We are looking forward to developing our proposals further to save this national gem, securing the future of bellfounding in the UK and underpinning the future of the English Art of Change-Ringing across the world.”
If you would like to support the project please follow our facebook page or twitter feed (Twitter: @Lborobelltrust, Facebook: facebook.com/lborobelltrust).
Notes to editors
About the Heritage Lottery Fund
* HLF heritage grant applications are assessed in two rounds. Taylor’s Bellfoundry has initially been granted round one development funding of £298,600 by the Heritage Lottery Fund, allowing it to progress with its plans. Detailed proposals are then considered by HLF at second round, where a final decision is made on the full funding award of £3.7m.
Thanks to National Lottery players, we invest money to help people across the UK explore, enjoy and protect the heritage they care about – from the archaeology under our feet to the historic parks and buildings we love, from precious memories and collections to rare wildlife. http://www.hlf.org.uk. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and use #NationalLottery and #HLFsupported.
What is the Loughborough Bellfoundry Trust and why was it been set up?
The Loughborough Bellfoundry Trust is a Charitable Incorporated Organisation, registered with the Charity Commission in 2016. It was set up by a number of the John Taylor’s & Co directors to safeguard the future of bell making at the site in Loughborough in perpetuity. The unique collection of buildings, equipment, patterns, machinery and archives from the Bellfoundry have been transferred into the charitable trust to ensure their long-term protection for the nation.
Why are the buildings so special?
The earliest buildings that make up Taylors Bell Foundry date from 1859 and have been developed and changed as the business grew and following a fire in 1891. They are Grade II* Listed and this means that they are in the top 8% most significant historic buildings in the UK from a total of around 400,000 Listed buildings (92% are Grade II Listed and 2.5% are Grade I). It is the only purpose built Victorian bell foundry in the UK and we are pretty sure, in the world, with many areas of interest in architectural and constructional detail.
The buildings are currently on the Historic England (HE) ‘Heritage At Risk Register’ which is a ‘programme which identifies those sites that are most at risk of being lost as a result of neglect, decay or inappropriate development’ (Historic England 2017). In the case of the bellfoundry, it falls within the ‘decay’ category. The Trust and John Taylor & Co have worked closely with HE to identify the most urgent repairs and have secured three HE grants to deliver a series of repairs over 2016, 2017 and 2018. Although these repairs have already had a positive impact on the buildings, further repair is required to ensure the building can be taken off the Heritage At Risk Register and given a new lease of life.
What is the ‘Saving the Last Major Bellfoundry in Britain’ project?
Building on the significant work that the directors at John Taylor’s have undertaken since acquiring the business in 2009 and the subsequent transfer of assets to the Trust, a long-term vision for the site has been developed in the form of the Saving the Last Major Bellfoundry in Britain project. The vision for the project is as follows:
Our vision is for the John Taylor Bellfoundry to become the global centre in the art of bell making and learning. The sound of Taylor bells can be heard all over the planet; our vision is to secure this legacy and make sure future generations on every continent can be brought together by A Ring of Taylor Bells.
The objectives of the project are:
1: Conservation: The project will secure the conservation and enhancement of the Grade II* Listed John Taylor Bellfoundry. It will sensitively repair the Victorian bellfoundry and protect its unique collection of artefacts and archive and facilitate the conservation of historic bells and bell-towers throughout the world.
2: Education: The project will advance education in the history and art of bell making and bell ringing for people of all ages and levels of experience. It will ensure that the unique skills that go into bellfounding are preserved by training future craftsmen and women and enable public access to the world’s most significant archive of bell material.
3: Bellfounding: The project will enable Taylors to become the preeminent centre for bell research, development and manufacturing. It will ensure that processes pioneered by Taylors over centuries are sustained whilst exploring how 21st century technology can add value to this timeless art.
4: Celebration: The project will excite unprecedented numbers of visitors to the site and engage them in its history. It will engage new audiences and help communities to celebrate the heritage of bells across the UK and around the world.
5: Resilience: The project will ensure that the bellfoundry is financially sustainable and maintained into the long-term, ensuring bellfounding in the UK continues for future generations.
How can I find out more or get involved?
For more information on the project as it progresses or to get involved please visit or follow the following links:
Contact details: Please contact either Kate Pinnock or Ross Ingham via firstname.lastname@example.org