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why the london 2012 olympics bell is being cast in holland

why the london 2012 olympics bell is being cast in holland

access_time April 20, 2012 chat_bubble_outline 0 comments
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By Louise Eccles

PUBLISHED: 16:31 EST, 19 April 2012 | UPDATED: 01:39 EST, 20 April 2012

The British firm chosen to create a 23-ton bell to ring in the Olympics has admitted it will be made in Holland.


The Whitechapel Bell Foundry, which dates back to at least 1570 and cast Big Ben, was considered an obvious choice by the Olympic organiser Locog to make the bell that will mark the start of the London 2012 Games.

But now the firm has revealed that while the bell – Europe’s biggest – has been designed in-house, it will be manufactured by a Dutch company.

Casting: A bell is cast at the Whitechapel Bell Foundry in London but one designed specifically for the Olympics will be manufactured elsewhere

Casting: A bell is cast at the Whitechapel Bell Foundry in London but one designed specifically for the Olympics will be manufactured elsewhere

It will be shipped back to Britain and erected in the Olympic Stadium in time for the opening ceremony on July 27.

Famous: The Whitechapel Bell Foundry famously cast Big Ben

Famous: The Whitechapel Bell Foundry famously cast Big Ben

The East London firm’s Kathryn Hughes, 54, said ‘we simply don’t have the pouring capacity’ to make the 3.3-metre-wide bell in Britain.

But Richard Grimmett, of the rival John Taylor & Co bell foundry in Loughborough, said: ‘It does not make sense to me.

‘Part of the London 2012 spec was insisting that the bell is cast in this country.’

The Olympic bell will be a foot wider than the largest in Britain, the Great Paul at St Paul’s Cathedral, which was cast by Taylor’s in 1881.

Mr Grimmett said the firm had offered to make the bell entirely in the UK for £850,000, but lost out to Whitechapel.

Mrs Hughes said: ‘This is a Whitechapel bell and we have supervised every stage.

‘The design, shape, lettering, metal specifications and patterns are all Whitechapel.

‘If an M&S outfit is made in China, it is still M&S clothing.’

Olympics: The bell will signify the start of the London Games, which are just a matter of months away

Olympics: The bell will signify the start of the London Games, which are just a matter of months away

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