Bow is home to one of London’s best green spaces, Victoria Park, as well as an amazing food market. It also has great historical significance, being home to a major Suffragette movement and the creation of the famous blue and white porcelain.
The area we know as Bow today was in the 12th century called ‘Stratford-atte-Bow’, the name deriving from the stone causeway that led to a local ford. During a visit to Barking Abbey, King Henry I’s wife, Matilda, fell into the ford, and as a consequence, the queen ordered a bridge to be built over the water, the first stone bridge in England. This bridge featured three bow arches, which have given the area its current name of Bow.
This area is home to one of London’s best green spaces, Victoria Park, as well as an amazing food market. It also has great historical significance; the Suffragette movement was active in this area and blue and white porcelain was created here. Pictured above is the Pavilion Cafe located in Victoria Park.
The Suffragettes were an early ‘girl power’ movement. During the Victorian era, Bow Road was home to Sylvia Pankhurst’s East London Federation of Suffragettes Organisation, which focused on improving conditions for local residents. In the 1880s, a protest march by the Suffragettes took place at the local Bryant and May match factory, where match girls were striking in pursuit of fairer working conditions.
The Suffragettes supported the match girls who had to work in the factory for 14 hours every day on mediocre pay and in a toxic, phosphorus-laden environment that caused disfiguring and life-threatening illnesses.
Bow was a huge cattle trading centre during the 17th century, and the famous blue and white porcelain we so admire today was produced here using a mixture made from the bones of the cattle slaughtered at the site and London clay.