Sunday, 17 November 2019

Loughborough firms in the spotlight

This week has been one of revelations, discoveries and fun, fun, fun!

As we surely must all know by now, Taylors Bellfoundry is the last remaining dedicated bellfoundry in the UK. I say 'last remaining dedicated' because although the Whitechapel Bellfoundry closed in 2017, and plans to convert it into a boutique hotel have very recently been passed by the local council and associated organisations, the Whitechapel name is continued in the making of bells at the 200-year old metal foundry in Newcastle-Under-Lyme, called the Westley Group.



But, back to Taylors. We probably all know that although the buildings occupied by the local bellfoundry are still used in the making of bells, they could do with a bit of upgrading. To this end, the Bellfoundry Trust* has been set up specifically to secure a Heritage Lottery Fund grant to not only improve the site, but also to share, expand and improve the special and unique experience that is a visit to the working factory during a bellcasting, and a visit to the museum. As part of the grant application, the Bellfoundry Trust have reached out to the local community, and engaged them in a discussion of what the bellfoundry might offer the local and distant visitor, and how this could be achieved.

The vision for the future was presented by Caro Architects, the company which describes itself as conservation and heritage architects. The firm has been brought in to help devise a plan for the conservation of the buildings, and the creation of a sympathetic visitor attraction that would allow the public to experience the craft of bellfounding as it happens at the foundry, as well as learn the history of bellfounding and of Taylors.   

What a fabulous initiative this is, to keep one of Loughborough's most iconic firms viable and visitable! Having arrived in Loughborough from Oxford to re-cast the bells of All Saints in 1839, John Taylor set up a temporary foundry at the back of the Pack Horse Inn, before a more permanent site was bought and developed in 1858. The site was extended by local architects Barrowcliffe and Allcock** in 1898. 

Other bells created by the firm include the Great Paul bell for St Paul's Cathedral in London, the cast of which is now in Queen's Park; Great George (the 6th largest bell in the UK) housed in the Wills Memorial Building  at the University of Bristol; Great Peter for York Minster, and so the list goes on and on ...

As does the list of books produced by another iconic Loughborough company, Ladybird Books, once an integral part of the town's heritage, but since 1999 part of Penguin. The Being Human Festival is now in its 6th year, and is a festival that specifically celebrates the humanities. The theme of this year's festival was discoveries and secrets, and aimed to present research on a huge range of humanities topics in an accessible way, showing how such research is relevant to our everyday life. 

The event I attended was about Ladybird Books and was held in Charnwood Museum. Volunteers from Loughborough Local and Family History Centre (based in the Local Studies area of Loughborough public library) brought along books from their own Ladybird collections, as well as their extensive knowledge of Ladybird Books. 



Representatives from The MERL*** (Museum of Rural Life), who brought along various ladybird merchandise, were in attendance too, because the Ladybird archive is lodged with Reading University. Leicestershire Museums Services brought along some items from their collection and along with expert and collector Helen Day they were collecting Ladybird stories from Loughborough people - people who may have worked at the factory, or knew someone who did. Oh, and not forgetting the archivist from Penguin who was also present. Charnwood Museum had a display in their changing exhibition area, and the Ladybird benches were still in Queen's Park, inviting people to sit and rest awhile. Despite the very heavy rain, and despite the fair being in town, lots of people popped down to be involved in this event, although the guided walk didn't take place, so instead, we were treated to the surprising story of Ladybird Books from inside in the dry from a Ladybird expert at the university!



All in all, a great week for Loughborough, and all topped off with the last travelling fair of the season! 











*The Bellfoundry Trust can be found on Twitter and on Facebook

**Ironically, the architectural firm which has grown from the original practice created by Edward T. Allcock when he left the joint practice he had with Barrowcliffe is now known as A+G Architects (formerly Allcock and Grieves), and as well as having an office on Leicester Road, Loughborough, they also have an office in Oxford.

***The MERL also have an extensive collection of material related to Robert Bakewell.

You are welcome to quote passages from any of my posts, with appropriate credit. The correct citation for this looks as follow:

Dyer, Lynne (2019). Loughborough firms in the spotlight. Available from: https://lynneaboutloughborough.blogspot.com/2019/11/loughborough-firms-in-spotlight.html  [Accessed 17 November 2019]

Take down policy:
 post no pictures that are not my own, unless I have express permission so to do. All text is my own, and not copied from any other information sources, printed or electronic, unless identified and credited as such. If you find I have posted something in contravention of these statements, or if there are photographs of you which you would prefer not to be here, please contact me at the address listed on the About Me page, and I will remove these.
Thank you for reading this blog. 

Lynne
        

Sunday, 10 November 2019

Remembrance 2019

Remembrance in Loughborough, 10 November 2019












Remembrance in Melbourne, 10 November 2019











You are welcome to quote passages from any of my posts, with appropriate credit. The correct citation for this looks as follow:

Dyer, Lynne (2019). Remembrance 2019. Available from: https://lynneaboutloughborough.blogspot.com/2019/11/remembrance-2019.html  [Accessed 10 November 2019]

Take down policy:
 post no pictures that are not my own, unless I have express permission so to do. All text is my own, and not copied from any other information sources, printed or electronic, unless identified and credited as such. If you find I have posted something in contravention of these statements, or if there are photographs of you which you would prefer not to be here, please contact me at the address listed on the About Me page, and I will remove these.
Thank you for reading this blog. 

Lynne