diamond geezer

 Wednesday, January 15, 2014

I didn't move to Bow for the shopping. My local retail hub is Bromley High Street, that's Bromley-by-Bow, not the economically more important centre in SE London. Bromley High Street used to be busy, say 100 years ago, with a thriving collection of shops based around a cobbled triangle. A florist, a tobacconist, a greengrocer, a baker, a hairdresser, a toy dealer, a bootmaker, a laundresss, an undertaker, an umbrella maker and a draper, all these plied their trades alongside Henry Tovey's coffee rooms, Simon Samuels' fried fish shop and John Felton's diner. They're long gone, of course, and so is almost everything that used to be here. The Rose and Crown pub held out until 2006, and still stands only because it's a Grade II listed building. Everything else was demolished after the war, some time after I'd say, and replaced by something aspirational but hideous.

The planners must have had high hopes for Stroudley Walk. The centrepiece of a new estate, they planned for two arcades of shops as well as a central market. The feature colour was brown, mostly brown brick, with the new shops shielded behind rows of thick brick arches. Were this anywhere posh you might be able to call them arcades, but these are merely dingy shields, making it harder than necessary to read the names of the shops behind. On top they built flats, again mostly brown, and fairly utilitarian. And outside they left a windswept brown space, a pedestrian zone far wider than necessary, plus a substantial dedicated area for the creation of a market. If that ever materialised it's long gone now, with metal studs in the tarmac all that remains to delineate an absence of stalls. Only one stallholder ever turns up these days, selling scant fruit and veg beneath an awning opposite the Post Office. As postwar regeneration projects go, it's fairly disastrous. [8 photos]

A separate row of shops grew up below the tower block, Warren House, this built on the site of Bromley's former police station. Outside the dry cleaners there used to be a drinking fountain and a water trough, and if you go back to the 1700s a pillory and the village bowling green! But any sense of community focus is long gone now. Nobody hangs around Stroudley Walk unless they need to, or they're selling something, or they're propped up with a can of cheap alcohol near the bookies. Most walk straight through on their way to somewhere else, like Bow Road at the end of the street, or their home in one of the ex council flats hereabouts. Blokes with staffies in tow, kids in ribbed black anoraks riding bikes, elderly gentlemen with sticks, faceless ladies, and of course me, because they're my local shops too.
Stroudley Walk - Traders' Directory

2-4 Post Office This is a hideous building, quite the shabbiest Post Office I've ever had to queue in. The feature colour is 1970s brown, and the interior feels like some kind of bunker in a youth centre. It is of course fantastic for Bromley-by-Bow that this service exists, both for the boost its presence brings to local traders and for the free cashpoint, but less great that there are imminent plans to relocate to back of the Nisa supermarket on Bow Road.
6 Bow Fish and Chips I used to pop in here every fortnight or so for wrapped fish and fried potato doused in vinegar substitute, yum, but I gave up a few years back, partly because of my diet but mostly because I was no longer convinced I was eating cod.
8 RSA Cash & Carry This used to be the Rose and Crown pub. Not so many Bromley-by-Bow people drink any more, but they can now buy gizzard, breeder, hen and sheep on the premises.
10-12 Fahima Grocers Halal meat and fish, sure, but also useful stuff in tins.

16 Ladbrokes At the heart of any down at heel neighbourhood there's a betting shop, this one often with an inebriate band of punters gathered outside to merry the day away.
18 Bow Pharmacy I'm in here regularly to pick up my prescriptions. I'm invariably the only customer wearing cufflinks. I'll not hear a word said against the place.
20 Quix Newsagents Rebranded as a "Best-One", according to the temporary banner outside, but that's been there for a while and no imminent upgrade of facilities is apparent. Photocopier Service available. Currently selling Weetabix for 89p, if you're quick.
22 Local People Local Jobs Until fairly recently this was a health clinic, but now it's a community job centre run by my local doctor's surgery. Because E3 needs places to help you with your CV more than it needs wellness technicians.
24 Bromley Furniture IKEA this ain't, but if you need a chair for your bedsit or a bit of carpet or a chipboard occasional table then the bloke sat right at the back would love to see a customer.
26 Ahmeds Bakers Delight There may be two apostrophes missing but this corner shop sells a decent range of home baked treats, and bread, and Halal stuff, and there's a chiller full of Snapple at the back.

[Here be the utterly empty market stall expanse]


30 Bow Tandoori It won't be appearing in Time Out any time soon, but every parade needs an Indian takeaway, and this is ours.
32-40 Stroudley Walk Health Centre This community health hub is a relatively recent initiative, open for clinics and advice for 12 hours every weekday plus a bit of Saturday, and is probably where local residents should be going rather than turning up at A&E with a sniffle.

31 Streets of Growth "A social enterprise charity specialising in engaging youth and young adults away from educational and career drop-out, postcode territorialism, group/gang violence, criminality, drugs, and associated behaviours leading to harm, poverty, neighbourhood dysfunction and dependency." You'd never have guessed that from the title.
33 Perfect Fried Chicken It's not, I bet, but I've never risked it.
35 Empty, awaiting some social entrepreneur to come along and make their mark (if you're interested?)
37 Choice Accessories A beacon of light in the dark parade, selling tins and tubs and toys and toasters and toilet rolls to a local clientele who very much appreciate the bargain basement prices.
39 MA Halal Cash and Carry Stroudley Walk no longer has a supermarket as such, but here's another grocery outlet selling bags of rice rather than baked beans, and not yet put out of business by the Tesco Superstore across the A12.
And yes, there are of course plans to redevelop Stroudley Walk, how could there not be? All the premises from 2 to 26 will survive, but the two southern blocks will be demolished to be replaced by flats. The space where the market stall was supposed to go becomes flats too, which would be an eminently more sensible use of space, as does some of the patch of grass opposite. Tenants in Warren House would be moved out so that their tower block could be replaced by something newer and taller, and the retail units out front would be replaced. Anywhere else this might worry me, but the redevelopment body here are Poplar HARCA, the local Housing and Regeneration Community Association, and they have a fairly good record on these things. Plus nothing's happened yet. Plus, quite frankly, Stroudley Walk could do with a decent masterplan after the brown brick mess imposed by well-meaning architects fifty years ago. Just, please, nothing so brilliant that all the rest of London wants to move in.


<< click for Newer posts

click for Older Posts >>


click to return to the main page


...or read more in my monthly archives
Jan16  Feb16  Mar16  Apr16  May16  Jun16  Jul16  Aug16  Sep16
Jan15  Feb15  Mar15  Apr15  May15  Jun15  Jul15  Aug15  Sep15  Oct15  Nov15  Dec15
Jan14  Feb14  Mar14  Apr14  May14  Jun14  Jul14  Aug14  Sep14  Oct14  Nov14  Dec14
Jan13  Feb13  Mar13  Apr13  May13  Jun13  Jul13  Aug13  Sep13  Oct13  Nov13  Dec13
Jan12  Feb12  Mar12  Apr12  May12  Jun12  Jul12  Aug12  Sep12  Oct12  Nov12  Dec12
Jan11  Feb11  Mar11  Apr11  May11  Jun11  Jul11  Aug11  Sep11  Oct11  Nov11  Dec11
Jan10  Feb10  Mar10  Apr10  May10  Jun10  Jul10  Aug10  Sep10  Oct10  Nov10  Dec10 
Jan09  Feb09  Mar09  Apr09  May09  Jun09  Jul09  Aug09  Sep09  Oct09  Nov09  Dec09
Jan08  Feb08  Mar08  Apr08  May08  Jun08  Jul08  Aug08  Sep08  Oct08  Nov08  Dec08
Jan07  Feb07  Mar07  Apr07  May07  Jun07  Jul07  Aug07  Sep07  Oct07  Nov07  Dec07
Jan06  Feb06  Mar06  Apr06  May06  Jun06  Jul06  Aug06  Sep06  Oct06  Nov06  Dec06
Jan05  Feb05  Mar05  Apr05  May05  Jun05  Jul05  Aug05  Sep05  Oct05  Nov05  Dec05
Jan04  Feb04  Mar04  Apr04  May04  Jun04  Jul04  Aug04  Sep04  Oct04  Nov04  Dec04
Jan03  Feb03  Mar03  Apr03  May03  Jun03  Jul03  Aug03  Sep03  Oct03  Nov03  Dec03
 Jan02  Feb02  Mar02  Apr02  May02  Jun02  Jul02 Aug02  Sep02  Oct02  Nov02  Dec02 

eXTReMe Tracker
jack of diamonds
life viewed from london e3

email    twitter    G+

my flickr photostream

What's on this weekend?
Sunday 2nd October (8.30-6.30)
Thames Barrier Closure
Annual all-day test, peaking around high tide at 3pm.

twenty blogs
853
arseblog
ian visits
londonist
scaryduck
blue witch
city metric
the great wen
onionbagblog
edith's streets
spitalfields life
linkmachinego
in the aquarium
round the island
wanstead meteo
london museums
christopher fowler
ruth's coastal walk
london reconnections
dirty modern scoundrel

quick reference features
Things to do in Outer London
The DG Tour of Britain
Comment Value Hierarchy

read the archive
Sep16
Aug16  Jul16  Jun16  May16
Apr16  Mar16  Feb16  Jan16
Dec15  Nov15  Oct15  Sep15
Aug15  Jul15  Jun15  May15
Apr15  Mar15  Feb15  Jan15
Dec14  Nov14  Oct14  Sep14
Aug14  Jul14  Jun14  May14
Apr14  Mar14  Feb14  Jan14
Dec13  Nov13  Oct13  Sep13
Aug13  Jul13  Jun13  May13
Apr13  Mar13  Feb13  Jan13
Dec12  Nov12  Oct12  Sep12
Aug12  Jul12  Jun12  May12
Apr12  Mar12  Feb12  Jan12
Dec11  Nov11  Oct11  Sep11
Aug11  Jul11  Jun11  May11
Apr11  Mar11  Feb11  Jan11
Dec10  Nov10  Oct10  Sep10
Aug10  Jul10  Jun10  May10
Apr10  Mar10  Feb10  Jan10
Dec09  Nov09  Oct09  Sep09
Aug09  Jul09  Jun09  May09
Apr09  Mar09  Feb09  Jan09
Dec08  Nov08  Oct08  Sep08
Aug08  Jul08  Jun08  May08
Apr08  Mar08  Feb08  Jan08
Dec07  Nov07  Oct07  Sep07
Aug07  Jul07  Jun07  May07
Apr07  Mar07  Feb07  Jan07
Dec06  Nov06  Oct06  Sep06
Aug06  Jul06  Jun06  May06
Apr06  Mar06  Feb06  Jan06
Dec05  Nov05  Oct05  Sep05
Aug05  Jul05  Jun05  May05
Apr05  Mar05  Feb05  Jan05
Dec04  Nov04  Oct04  Sep04
Aug04  Jul04  Jun04  May04
Apr04  Mar04  Feb04  Jan04
Dec03  Nov03  Oct03  Sep03
Aug03  Jul03  Jun03  May03
Apr03  Mar03  Feb03  Jan03
Dec02  Nov02  Oct02  Sep02
back to main page

diamond geezer 2015 index
diamond geezer 2014 index
diamond geezer 2013 index
diamond geezer 2012 index
diamond geezer 2011 index
diamond geezer 2010 index
diamond geezer 2009 index
diamond geezer 2008 index
diamond geezer 2007 index
diamond geezer 2006 index
diamond geezer 2005 index
diamond geezer 2004 index
diamond geezer 2003 index
diamond geezer 2002 index

my special London features
a-z of london museums
E3 - local history month
greenwich meridian (N)
greenwich meridian (S)
the real eastenders
london's lost rivers
olympic park 2007
great british roads
oranges & lemons
random boroughs
bow road station
high street 2012
river westbourne
trafalgar square
capital numbers
east london line
lea valley walk
olympics 2005
regent's canal
square routes
silver jubilee
unlost rivers
cube routes
metro-land
capital ring
river fleet
piccadilly
bakerloo

ten of my favourite posts
the seven ages of blog
my new Z470xi mobile
five equations of blog
the dome of doom
chemical attraction
quality & risk
london 2102
single life
boredom
april fool

ten sets of lovely photos
my "most interesting" photos
london 2012 olympic zone
harris and the hebrides
betjeman's metro-land
marking the meridian
tracing the river fleet
london's lost rivers
inside the gherkin
seven sisters
iceland

just surfed in?
here's where to find...
diamond geezers
flash mob #1  #2  #3  #4
ben schott's miscellany
london underground
watch with mother
cigarette warnings
digital time delay
wheelie suitcases
war of the worlds
transit of venus
top of the pops
old buckenham
ladybird books
acorn antiques
digital watches
outer hebrides
olympics 2012
school dinners
pet shop boys
west wycombe
bletchley park
george orwell
big breakfast
clapton pond
san francisco
thunderbirds
routemaster
children's tv
east enders
trunk roads
amsterdam
little britain
credit cards
jury service
big brother
jubilee line
number 1s
titan arum
typewriters
doctor who
coronation
comments
blue peter
matchgirls
hurricanes
buzzwords
brookside
monopoly
peter pan
starbucks
feng shui
leap year
manbags
penelope
bbc three
vision on
piccadilly
meridian
concorde
wembley
islington
ID cards
bedtime
freeview
beckton
blogads
eclipses
letraset
arsenal
sitcoms
gherkin
calories
everest
muffins
sudoku
camilla
london
ceefax
robbie
becks
dome
BBC2
paris
lotto
118
itv