ABOUT LOUGHBOROUGH BELLFOUNDRY

ABOUT THE TRUST

Since 1859, the grade II* listed Loughborough Bellfoundry, home to historic bellmakers John Taylor & Co., has cast more than 25,000 bells that are hung in over 100 countries around the world.

THE
BELLFOUNDRY

Closer to home, Taylor bells hang in nearly every Cathedral in England and thousands of parish churches, from London’s St. Paul’s Cathedral to York Minster and from Truro’s Cathedral to Newcastle’s. Taylor bells are ever-present for millions of people, ringing out for celebrations, coronations, jubilees, the end of conflict or simply intimate life moments like weddings, christenings and funerals.

The Loughborough Bellfoundry Trust was established as a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO) in 2016 with the objective of protecting the historic John Taylor bellfoundry buildings, archive and museum collections for future generations. Since its inception, the Trust has delivered over £750,000 of urgent repairs to the foundry site, grant-aided by Historic England, and it has subsequently secured a Round One Pass for the National Lottery Heritage Fund’s Heritage Enterprise Scheme.

Supported by a passionate team of Trustees, Volunteers and Staff, our vision is for the Loughborough Bellfoundry to become the global centre for the art of bell making and learning. The sound of Taylor bells can be heard all over the planet, and by protecting this legacy, we can ensure that future generations on every continent will be brought together by A Ring of Taylor Bells.

SAVING THE LAST
MAJOR BELLFOUNDRY IN BRITAIN

The Story So Far

In 2017 the other major UK bellfoundry at Whitechapel closed, sending shockwaves around the world. This has left Loughborough as the last major bellfoundry in the UK and placed its position in stark focus. While the business is in good fettle, without investment in the historic site, it is suddenly feasible that both of England’s last bellfoundries could be lost within a few years of each other – wiping out hundreds of years of history and silencing thousands of bells forever.

Bellfounding alone cannot produce enough capital to restore and sustain the original bellfoundry site, so the Loughborough Bellfoundry Trust has spent the last few years preparing detailed plans to restore the historic bellfoundry to its former glory and ensure its rich heritage is not lost. To lose the site which houses such rich historical and cultural significance would be to lose the essence of the Bellfoundry itself. The LBT aim to make the site the global heart for the art and craft of bells. The Trust is working with the National Lottery Heritage Fund and John Taylor and Co. and hopes to secure final approval for a grant of £3.8m in 2020 to contribute towards a package of £5 million+ repairs. However, to secure the Heritage Fund grant and make the plans a reality, the Trust needs to raise £1.1 million in matched funding from other sources.

To achieve our vision, we plan to:

  • Repair the iconic Victorian casting hall and workshop where bells are created and brought to life
  • Preserve and expand our vast archive, which relates to over 10,000 bells and bell towers around the globe
  • Improve access to the site so that anyone can visit and experience this unique place
  • Overhaul and improve the only bell museum in the country
  • Repair the magical tuning shop where the harmonic tuning of bells was discovered in the 1890s and where the sound we all recognise and love was created
  • Reinstate the Foundry’s Carillon, the first in the world to be harmonically tuned to equal temperament
  • Reengage with young people and learners to preserve our unique craft skills.