Bow Road opened on 11th June 1902, a week after all the other stations on the Metropolitan District Railway’s ‘Whitechapel and Bow’ venture. These days, it is served by both the District and Hammersmith and City Lines.
Bow Road Station has a grade two listed booking hall, but as that section of the line was shut for engineering works on our visit(the joys of a replacement bus!), I couldn’t really get inside to do it justice. I got a shot of the exterior but that’s about it.
Talking of the interior, this station was apparently the first to be fully refurbished by Metronet, the doomed private company that was tasked with upgrading the stations and infrastructure of several Underground lines. As we all know now, they made a right mess of it and went bust in 2007. Their showing at Bow Road seems to have been no exception. According to Diamond Geezer’s blog post from 2005, it took them over 600 days to finish what was effectively a minor station upgrade!
The Pub: The Bow Bells, 116 Bow Road, E3 3AA
The Bow Bells is a few minutes East down Bow Road. You won’t miss it as it is painted in a very distinct shade of orange – the future’s bright! The pub itself dates back to 1860 which is apparent in its Victorian-era exterior. Regarding the name of the pub, legend has it that only those born within earshot of the ‘Bow Bells’ are true cockneys. These are not the bells of the nearby Bow Church, but the St Mary-le-Bow church, designed by Sir Christopher Wren, in the City of London on Cheapside.
The Bow Bells has a traditional interior, with the bar in the centre. In their back area, there is a large projector and TV screens to show football and other sports action – they have a Sky Sports licence. There is also a weekly pub quiz, as well as regular comedy nights upstairs too. The pub has an italian kitchen, perfect for a good pizza.
When we visited, the pub had three excellent ales on tap in the shape of Doombar, London Pride and Timothy Taylor’s Landlord. It also has a good selection of bottled beers and Meantime IPA(from Greenwich, obviously..) on tap too. There is an interesting tube map on the wall of the gents toilets which replaces the stations with famous footballers. I’m not quite sure of the logic behind it, for example Phil Thompson is Westminster Station while Mark Schwarzer is Camden, but it is certainly interesting!
To me, The Bow Bells is a good, solid traditional boozer. It’s not too far from Queen Mary University either and I recommend it to all students who appreciate a proper pub!