It is reported that the Whitechapel Foundry, which opened in 1570 when Elizabeth I was on the throne, is to close in 2017.

The foundry in Whitechapel Road,
To which I dedicate this ode,
Has stood since ’Lizabethan days,
When Shakespeare wrote most of his plays.

It makes things out of metal, cast,
Is not concerned to do things fast,
And one commission it did take,
A century or more to make.

Its main business is making bells,
For churches such as Bath and Wells,
But its most famous bell to date,
Was cast in 1858,
It’s hung in London Town since then,
And we all know it as Big Ben.

In fact Big Ben was there re-cast,
Because the first one did not last,
It had been first cast if you please,
Up north in Stockton on the Tees.

The first one broke I’m sad to say,
And so it was then sent away,
To Whitechapel to be re-made,
And hopefully to make the grade.

It all went well, no loss of face,
And was hung in its proper place,
The hammer then gave it a whack,
And it got quite a nasty crack.

The bellman said, “Why, damn and drat!
The thing sounds really rather flat.”
The crack is still there to this day,
And that is why it sounds that way.

But I digress to some extent,
For with this verse it’s my intent,
To give you facts and figures so,
More than before you ought to know.

The foundry is the oldest firm,
In Britain just as you now learn,
And as for a bell-making space,
The whole world has no older place.

But sadly I must now report,
That orders have been rather short;
Whitechapel’s been left in the lurch,
’Cos people don’t now go to church.

So next year it has plans to close,
To sell its assets I suppose,
And then for bells you’ll have to go,
To Taylor’s up in Loughboro’

It will be sad I have to say,
To see this old firm fade away,
Perhaps some person rich and brave,
Might step in to the foundry save.

Image – Flickr

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