The British metal foundry where the Liberty Bell was cast may soon close its doors after 277 years.

The owners of the Whitechapel Bell Foundry, which also made London's Big Ben, have sold their buildings to a developer and plan to close the site in May, but they hope to sell the business so that it can resume operations at another location.

Real estate values have soared in the East London neighborhood where the foundry has operated since 1759. The business itself dates to 1570, during the reign of Elizabeth I.

The foundry made what would become the Liberty Bell for the Pennsylvania Statehouse in 1752. It cracked when it was first rung and was twice recast in Philadelphia. The current crack dates from the first half of the 19th century.

Big Ben was made in 1856, but it too cracked and was recast in 1858.