It hadn’t taken long to get to the bottom of it. Nigel Taylor’s wife, Julia, is a tax accountant who spends much of her working day trawling the website of Companies House. Shortly after Hughes had informed his workers in November 2016 that the foundry would be closing, Julia and Nigel Taylor had undertaken some amateur sleuthing. They found that a new company, Whitechapel Bell Limited, had been incorporated that same month. Its registered address led back to the offices of an East End property developer: Vincent Goldstein.
It emerged that in October 2016, Goldstein had agreed to pay Alan Hughes’s company £5.1m for the foundry. But it was never entirely clear what he intended to do with the place. His company is known for turning former industrial spaces into residential and commercial premises in east London. Given the meagre profits reaped from hammering out tower bells, and the large sum he paid for the buildings, it seemed likely that Goldstein would apply for a change of use, perhaps transforming the foundry into flats. (Goldstein declined to be interviewed for this article but sent me a short statement confirming the details of the sale.)
So, the old Whitechapel bell foundry is sold for property development. OK. Yes, even a bit sad after four centuries but still.
For a foundry in London, it was particularly difficult. Rents rose every year,
How do rents rise in a property that is owned?