Inquiry to start into Whitechapel foundry plans
A PUBLIC inquiry is due to start next week into plans to develop the centuries-old Whitechapel Bell Foundry into a luxury hotel. The premises were closed in 2016 and sold to developers in a multi-million-pound deal. The Secretary of State for Housing, Communities, and Local Government, Robert Jenrick, called for the inquiry after Tower Hamlets Council approved the redevelopment of the site, despite opposition from community groups and members of the public. Under current plans, backed by Historic England, the Grade II* listed building at the front of the site would be preserved, and a 103-bedroom hotel with a rooftop pool would be built at the rear. Re-Form Heritage (formerly the UK Historic Building Preservation Trust) and the Factum Foundation have proposed, however, buying back and reopening the whole premises for their original purpose (News, 6 July 2018). The Whitechapel foundry, established in 1570, was one of the oldest companies in the UK, and had occupied premises on Whitechapel Road since 1738 (News, 9 December 2016). It is the birthplace of Big Ben, Bow Bells, and the Liberty Bell, in Pennsylvania.
Sacrifices are needed to beat Covid, Dr Jackson warns
THE Covid-19 crisis calls on everyone to “make sacrifices for the greater good”, the Archbishop of Dublin, Dr Michael Jackson, has said, after new restrictions came into force in Ireland on Monday. Residents are asked to avoid unnecessary travel; pubs, cafés, restaurants, and hotels are now limited to takeaway, delivery, and outdoor dining; and all museums, galleries, and cultural attractions are closed. Dr Jackson said: “Words like ‘restrictions’ and ‘enforcement’ do not sit well with us. But once again the fight against Covid-19 calls for us to make sacrifices for the greater good. The impact of the coronavirus on our public health, wellbeing, mental health and economic life is already devastating for individuals and communities right across Ireland. We are now called upon to exercise commitment and compliance. . . I express my admiration for all who keep our society going and call upon everyone to do the right thing to halt the spread of the virus.”
Church launches ‘Social Supermarket’
ST MARY’s, Southampton, which was relaunched as a city-centre resource church in 2018, marked its two-year anniversary by introducing a new “Social Supermarket” to tackle food poverty in the city, which, it says, has increased during the pandemic. Its existing foodbank has delivered more than 80,000 meals to vulnerable households across Southampton; 70 per cent of food parcels went to young families. To complement this, a mini-supermarket is being set up in the church, led by the Revd Jon Finch in partnership with Southampton City Mission. People in need can become members and buy food at a nominal cost. The membership model is intended to “create community and shared dignity”, while also giving users greater choice.
Radio station crowdfunds to broadcast services
PETERSFIELD Community Radio has launched a crowdfunding appeal to raise £1800 to install professional audio equipment in St Peter’s, Petersfield, in Hampshire, so that services can be broadcast live on a new online 24-hour radio station, Shine Radio, which was launched in August. Donors will be rewarded with the chance to present a show on Shine Radio, read the news or weather, or, for donations of more than £350, present a promotional campaign for a business or a chosen cause. Stephen Martin, who co-founded Petersfield Community Radio in 2019, explained: “One of the aims of the community project is to help alleviate insecurity, isolation, and loneliness through a bright, connected radio service in Petersfield. . . Shine Radio is helping already, but we cannot yet broadcast live from the church. When we recorded a carol service and made the audio available to local care homes, we were overwhelmed by the positive response.” petersfieldradio.uk
Gaelic-epitaph ruling can be challenged
THE Coventry consistory court’s refusal of a Gaelic epitaph on an Irish woman’s gravestone can go to appeal, the Court of Arches has ruled, writes Paul Wilkinson. The Diocesan Chancellor of Coventry, His Hon. Judge Stephen Eyre QC, ruled in June that the words “In ár gcroíthe go deo” (“In our hearts for ever”) could not appear on Margaret Keane’s headstone at St Giles’s, Exhall, near Nuneaton, unless accompanied by an English translation (News, 12 June). The Dean of the Arches, the Rt Worshipful Morag Ellis QC, the ecclesiastical appeal judge for the Province of Canterbury, has given permission for a further hearing because the issue of non-English inscriptions on memorials had not been considered by the courts before, and was likely to arise again. The original ruling might have been “unfair”, and an appeal had “real prospects of success”, she said.