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Housing secretary announces inquiry into Whitechapel Bell Foundry redevelopment

Plus: Russian culture minister replaced in cabinet reshuffle | Historic England report values heritage sector at £31bn | and Portland Art Museum receives donation of $10m

23 January 2020

Our daily round-up of news from the art world 

UK housing secretary announces inquiry into Whitechapel Bell Foundry redevelopment | Robert Jenrick, the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, has called in the planning application to redevelop the Whitechapel Bell Foundry into a 108-room hotel. The controversial scheme by the developers Raycliff Whitechapel LLP was given the go-ahead in November 2019, but placed on hold by the government the following month. It will now be subject to a public inquiry. Until it was purchased by Raycliff in 2017, the factory was the oldest continuously operative bell foundry in the UK; both Big Ben and the Liberty Bell were manufactured there in the 19th century. For more on the campaign to save the site, here’s Gillian Darley writing for Apollo.

Russian culture minister replaced in cabinet reshuffle | Vladimir Medinsky, who served as Russia’s Minister for Culture from 2012 until last week, has been replaced by Olga Lyubimova. The move comes as part of a broader reshuffle of the Russian cabinet, after Putin called for significant changes to the Russian constitution in a speech on 15 January.

Historic England report values heritage sector at £31bn | A report published today by Historic England has revealed that the gross value added by the heritage sector to the nation’s economy is £31bn. The new research, carried out by HE on the behalf of the Historic Environment Forum, also found that the sector provides more than 464,000 jobs and that, in 2018, around £17bn was spent on heritage-related trips in England.

Portland Art Museum receives donation of $10m | The collector and philanthropist Arlene Schnitzer has given $10m to the Portland Art Museum – the largest donation from an individual in the institution’s history. Schnitzer has long supported the museum with acquisitions and other campaigns; in 2007, she and her late husband Howard Schnitzer were the first people to made life trustees.

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