Whitechapel Bell Foundry

Arthur Edwards | AFP | Getty Images

Name: Whitechapel Bell Foundry
Founded: 1570
Location: London, U.K.
Employees: 25

Established in 1570, the Whitechapel Bell Foundry is believed to be Britain's oldest manufacturing company.

Tucked away on one of East London's busiest streets, the Foundry has cast the world's most famous bells – London's Big Ben' and the original Liberty Bell in Philadelphia – and continues to excel, having cast the world's first peal of 16 change ringing bells in 1991.

During times of conflict, the foundry's expertise was called upon to contribute to war efforts by manufacturing cannons as well as castings for submarine parts during the Second World War.

Arthur Hughes became general manager in 1884, before buying the business in 1904. The foundry is still in the hands of the Hughes family, with Alan Hughes acting as Managing Director of the company, which has a turnover of £1.5 million.