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Taylor's Bell Foundry (That Part on West Side of Cobden Street)

A Grade II* Listed Building in Loughborough, Leicestershire

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Latitude: 52.7733 / 52°46'23"N

Longitude: -1.1989 / 1°11'56"W

OS Eastings: 454140

OS Northings: 319825

OS Grid: SK541198

Mapcode National: GBR 8KT.3PJ

Mapcode Global: WHDHQ.KK98

Plus Code: 9C4WQRF2+8C

Entry Name: Taylor's Bell Foundry (That Part on West Side of Cobden Street)

Listing Date: 24 December 1985

Last Amended: 1 September 2010

Grade: II*

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1264685

English Heritage Legacy ID: 427247

Location: Loughborough Hastings, Charnwood, Leicestershire, LE11

County: Leicestershire

Electoral Ward/Division: Loughborough Hastings

Built-Up Area: Loughborough

Traditional County: Leicestershire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Leicestershire

Church of England Parish: Loughborough All Saints

Church of England Diocese: Leicester

Tagged with: Architectural structure

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24-DEC-85 (South side)
(Formerly listed as:

Erecting, finishing and tuning shops, carpenter's shop, smithy, offices and carillon tower forming part of a bell manufactory. 1859, with later C19 and early C20 additions and alterations, those in 1898 to the designs of Barrowcliffe and Allcock, architects, of Loughborough.
MATERIALS: Red brick with Welsh slate roof coverings, incorporating areas of fixed glazing.
PLAN: Former evolved courtyard plan, the courtyard now roofed over and the complex extended to the north-westward.
EXTERIOR: The complex is made up of various ranges of 1 and 2 storeys and incorporates 2 towers. The main 2 storey range to Freehold Street is late C19. The street frontage elevation has six 20-pane windows to the left and five 4-pane sash windows to the centre right and far right. On the ground floor are 2 doorways and a large double doorway to the left, four 24-pane windows to centre, then two 4-pane sash windows to centre right and a double doorway and further 4-pane sash window. All of the openings have brick cambered heads. The elevation is embellished with a moulded brick string course and moulded brick eaves below a brick parapet. At the right-hand end are various sash windows with margin lights. To the far left is a 3-stage corner tower dated 1898, with a 9-pane window set within a stone Gibbs surround. Above, the second stage has a circular window with a keyed stone surround. The third stage has 4 rusticated stone pilasters on each face, a stone cornice, and a parapet with curved top, stone coping and ball finials. The left side of the tower facing Cobden Street is similar detailed with a date stone set within the parapet. The range to Cobden Street has a tall tapering square brick stack, irregular fenestration and a double doorway. The single storey rear range facing Peel Drive (formerly Chapman Street) is the original foundry building and is dated 1859. It has 5 iron-framed 25-pane windows, and 2 similar 45-pane windows to the left. Stone plaques within the walling are inscribed 'J.V.T 1859.' To the rear of the main range is an attached early C20 carillon tower of 3 stages with plain-tile hipped roof. The bottom stage has 2 sides open, being supported on an iron column and girders. Above these sides, on each face, are two 2-light leaded casements. The third stage is open, with timber framing between brick corner piers and attached carillon bells.
INTERIOR: This part of the bellfoundry site is where the finishing of bells and bell frames and the tuning of bells takes place, using specialist machinery, some of which is unique to bell manufacture. In particular, the tuning shop contains 4 fixed bell-tuning machines, three of which were specifically designed for the foundry and originally belt driven from line shafting. The fitting and turning shops contain lathes and planing and drilling machinery, whilst the carpenter's shop and the forge house woodworking and smithy equipment. The smithy retains a modified former steam hammer. Above the carpenters' shop is a loft which now serves as the pattern store. Within the erecting shop and bell tuning areas are travelling cranes to facilitate the moving of large castings. These run on wall-mounted runners supported by cast-iron brackets or masonry piers. Although the furnaces of the original foundry area and their chimneys have been removed, their location is still marked by arched recesses in the north wall of the old foundry building. The reconstruction following the fire of 1891 saw the introduction of tensioned metal roof trusses in some parts of the site, notably in the erecting shop, but areas of earlier timber roof structures survive in the carpenters shop, the erecting and tuning shop and the tuning room. Much of the ground floor of the office area has been altered, but a late C19 turned baluster stair leads to first floor rooms including a strong room, archive store and an office with fitted bookshelves and cupboards containing the company's order books and other historic documents.
HISTORY: The Taylor family, originally bell founders in St. Neots and elsewhere, came to Loughborough in 1839. In 1858 J.W.Taylor bought this site and began new foundry buildings. An engraved letterhead of pre-1886 shows the building as similar in appearance to those existing at present including that part on the east side of Cobden Street (qv), with three stacks. The business prospered and is reported to have been at one time the largest bellfoundry in the world. Taylor's cast bells for St Paul's Cathedral, London, including in 1881 'Great Paul', the largest bell in the former British Empire and the largest properly rung bell in the world. The moulds for this bell survive in the rear yard to the handbell foundry. Bells and carillons have been exported from this foundry to all parts of the former Empire, the USA, and Holland. It is the only operational purpose-built bellfoundry in England, and one of only two bellfoundries remaining in the country.
Forms a group with that part of Taylor's Bell Foundry to the east side of Cobden Street (q.v.)

The Architectural History Practice Ltd. Taylor's Bellfoundry, Loughborough'. Unpublished Report. November 2009.

The complex of buildings on the west side of Cobden Street Loughborough forming part of Taylors Bell Foundry is listed at Grade II* for the following principal reasons:

* HISTORICAL SIGNIFICANCE: The bellfoundry complex is representative of a specialised form of metal working which has its origins in the medieval period, and relates to a very important element in the rituals of worship and the national consciousness.

* ARCHITECTURAL INTEREST: The buildings which make up the site are representative of all stages of the site's evolution throughout the C19, and include the original foundry building, now used as the carpenter's shop.

* RARITY: The buildings form part of the only purpose-built bellfoundry in England and of one of the country's two operational bellfoundries.

* COMPLETENESS: This part of the foundry site, together with the part to the west side of Cobden Street form a manufacturing complex in which all stages of bell manufacture, from bell mould making to bell tuning are represented.

* FIXTURES AND FITTINGS: The buildings which make up the foundry complex on both sides of Cobden Street retain machinery used in the casting, shaping and finishing of bells. Some machine tools are specific to the manufacture of bells and were designed for use in Taylor's bellfoundry where they remain in situ, as originally installed.

* GROUP VALUE: The complex has strong group value with its companion on the eastern side of Cobden Street.

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