Named after a 12th
century ‘bowed bridge’, Bow is in the heart of London’s East End.
Bow’s rich history dates back to medieval times and includes the match girls' strike in 1888 at the Bryant and May match factory in Fairfield Road – a forerunner to the suffragette and trade union movements.
Today, Bow is a vibrant community, home to Roman Road Market, the canal, and fantastic greenspaces – Victoria Park, Mile End Park and the Olympic Park. The area is also getting investment through the council’s Liveable Streets programme. Every day over 33,000 car journeys are made in Bow. The programme seeks to improve road safety, public spaces, air quality and give the streets back to the residents. You can read more about the proposals on Let’s Talk Tower Hamlets.
The neighbourhood has lots of shops and local businesses that make it unique. Roman Road is the main shopping street and home to the market, which was legally established in 1888 and now operates on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Shops are open all week.
Pamela Tironi is the owner of The Bakery Room, which moved from Grove Road to Roman Road this year to have a bigger kitchen and café area.
She said: “We needed another place because it was too small and the lease was expired. Our message is that it’s fine to have cake, but just have a piece that is good quality, not have a whole cake. I love East London. It’s a place where you can feel at home. It’s real.”
At the other end of Roman Road is Symposium, an Italian restaurant and deli owned by Guiseppe and Rubina. The couple have a strong connection to the area having met at a party at a friend’s house just off Roman Road.
Rubina said: “We opened in 2017. In the early days it was a wine bar at the back and the dining area at the front. We swapped it around just before the crisis and luckily it was to our advantage because in lockdown we could stay open.”
The restaurant offered takeaways from the deli and meals from the kitchen. “I got out and delivered locally to people’s doorsteps,” Rubina said. “I think we just stepped up to the demand really.”
Throughout the pandemic, the council has been supporting local businesses. In June we launched the Thriving High Streets 3 fund, which provides advice and guidance to help businesses plan their recovery and a series of events to bring more visitors to key high streets and markets.
Targa Green Café, in Tredegar Road, is one of the businesses that is signed up to the fund to get support.
Owner Fatima Targa says: “I want to put my signature here in Bow, not for money but for pleasure. I see my café as like a rose. You take care of it, look after your customers and then you have a big plant. We got a lot of support from local people through the pandemic and I feel like the community is my extended family.”
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Posted on Thursday 5th August 2021