Loughborough Bellfoundry casts open its doors to welcome visitors to new museum

Loughborough Bellfoundry Museum

After being closed or running restricted visits for more than a year, the historic Victorian-era Loughborough Bellfoundry Museum is set to reopen to the public on 20th July, with new activities and displays for all the family to enjoy.

The museum, which is housed within the Loughborough Bellfoundry – the UK’s last remaining working bellfoundry – is reopening to full capacity with public tours of the works and fun, interactive activities and challenges for both adults and children to take part in.

Since the Grade II* listed Loughborough Bellfoundry began its operations in 1859, it has crafted, tuned and repaired thousands of bells for churches, cathedrals, ships and bell towers all over the world from Australia to Singapore.

The museum is owned and managed by the Loughborough Bellfoundry Trust – the organisation set up to repair, protect and preserve the historic Bellfoundry buildings so that the ancient art of bellfounding can continue.

In December 2020, the Trust received a grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund to deliver a site-wide refurbishment, including the museum, so that visitors can come along and learn about the art of bellfounding for themselves.

Visitors can enjoy a range of activities such as brass rubbing and bell moulding, where both adults and children can have a go making their very own bell inscriptions.

In addition, children and adults can become a real bell maker by dressing up in 20th century bell making uniform, complete with hi-vis jackets and hard-hats, to hit the bells with a mallet like the professional bell makers in the foundry.

In the education room, visitors can join together, each with their own hand bell, to learn and play songs as a group. And in the furnace gallery, children of all ages can take part in an interactive quiz and those with the most correct answers can win a prize.

As well as individual activities, the museum features The Bell Maker’s trail to keep younger visitors engaged throughout their visit. Children will be tasked with finding little bell makers who have hidden themselves around the museum for a chance to win a bell-themed goodie bag.

Two guided tours are also available for visitors to book – one of the furnace gallery, the Victorian casting hall, the old laboratory space, and a viewing of the historical galleries, and a full ‘Thursday Foundry’ tour, which includes seeing of all the foundry works, the crafting workshops, the tuning shop and the casting hall.

Hands-on activities will be included as part of the tours, such as brass rubbing, handbell ringing and the chance to see and touch newly-cast bells up close.

The Bellfoundry Museum will be open from 20th July 2021 for timed entry on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays. To visit, tickets are £6.50 for adults, £4.50 for under 16s and a family ticket is £15.00. ‘Thursday Foundry’ tours are available to book in advance.

For enquiries and bookings, call 01509 638 500 or visit www.loughboroughbellfoundry.org.
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