Award-winning Cambridge and London-based architects Caroe Architecture have been appointed to help save the Loughborough Bell Foundry in Leicestershire.
Founded by Oliver Caroe and Mark Hammond, Caroe Architecture will play a major role in the fight to save the bell foundry, designing proposals as part of the grander plan top restore the site.
Oliver is one of the country’s most well-known conservation architects; with over 20-years’ specialist experience in conservation and sustainability of existing and historic buildings.
Commenting on his appointment on the Loughborough Bell Foundry, Caroe Architecture Co-Founder Oliver Caroe said: “Mark and our team could not be more excited to get started. The project is at a key stage of the mission to restore and sustain the bell foundry, and we will relish the conservation challenge. It’s also about the creative journey to sustain all that is marvellous about the historic foundry, as well as fashioning new life and access to the craft for people who want to learn and get involved.
“We would like, at the end of the project, for people to exclaim ‘this is Taylors as we have always known it, but better’, and for visitors to Loughborough to want to return and spread the word. The vision for the plans will be a blend of respect to the history and heritage of the foundry and the bell founding craft, with a celebration of the potential opportunities for new people.”
Also known as the John Taylor’s Bell Foundry, the historic site is the UK’s last remaining major bell foundry, and was visited last month by the Duke of Gloucester.
The project is aiming to secure full funding from The National Lottery Heritage (who have pledged almost £300,000) in order to repair and restore the bell foundry’s buildings, onsite museum and equipment.
If the funding of the project is successful, the Loughborough Bellfoundry will become the foremost centre for bell research, development and manufacturing once work begins next year.
Andrew Wilby, Trustee of the Loughborough Bellfoundry Trust, commented: “This incredibly important project needs an experienced and innovative architect at the helm. Oliver, Mark and their team are one of the best in the industry and their vision and proposal for the works – in terms of restoration, a sustainable plan for the future and attracting visitors through the doors – are very much aligned with the Trust’s, which is why Caroe Architecture Ltd have been selected.
“During what we call the development stage of the project, is our time to work with the Caroe team and other partners to finalise our proposals with the hope of securing the essential additional funding. Without this, the bell foundry buildings will continue to deteriorate and could lead to the closure of the Loughborough Bellfoundry for good, so we’re extremely grateful to begin undertaking the necessary work and in turn, help secure the future of bell founding in the UK.”