December 02, 2016
The British foundry responsible for one of Philadelphia's most iconic landmarks is closing.
The Guardian reports the Whitechapel Bell Foundry in London is ceasing operations in May 2017 after 446 years in business. The foundry was the oldest manufacturing business in Great Britain, and in the 18th Century it cast the Liberty Bell.
Property prices in Whitechapel have soared in recent years because the area, once infamous for the Jack the Ripper murders, is close to the capital’s financial district and is a favourite spot for growing technology companies.
The foundry’s owners are considering a sale that could keep it operating from new premises.
In 1752, the foundry cast the Liberty Bell for the city of Philadelphia, which became a symbol of US independence. In 1856, it made Big Ben, although the bell cracked while being tested and was recast in 1858.
The Liberty Bell has become so synonymous with other Philadelphia clichés like Rocky and cheesesteaks that it's easy to forget its symbolic importance. It was rung in Philadelphia in 1776 for the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence.