Anyone can visit Bow Road for free.
That's the road, not the station.
So I took advantage.
20 things to see on Bow Road
n.b. The following are all things I haven't blogged about before.
There are therefore not the best things to see on Bow Road.
They're just things to see on Bow Road.
1) Autumn is a particularly good season to see Bow Road because many of our trees do the pretty yellow thing before the leaves fall off. 2) The colourfulmural on the front of Mainyard Studios, painted by Itaewon in 2020, depicts Clara Grant, the Farthing Bundle Woman of Bow. Perversely the church the artist has chosen to depict in the background is St Mary-le-Bow, three miles away in the City of London, not the medieval St Mary's just down the road. 3) Lemon Tree House, a six storey block of flats with some shops underneath, has been empty since numerous fire safety issues were identified following the Grenfell disaster. It's now going to be replaced by a nine-storey block containing 58 flats for social rent, following a successful appeal recently approved by a government planning officer. If you're looking for Mayor's Pharmacy it's moved just round the corner beneath Electric House. 4) A road sign opposite the Magistrate's Court warns traffic that the upcoming low bridge has a headroom of 15'3". Drivers should also be warned of a 13'6" bridge down Arnold Road on the right, but that sign has been swung round through over 90° so is impossible to read from any passing vehicle. 5) The Mighty Bite cafe, our local greasy spoon, has made a full-time landgrab for the pavement immediately out front and squeezed six small tables inside a compound made from Coke banners.
6) Bow Dental Surgery at number 143 displays the ultimate in out-of-date telephone numbers: one sign on the side of the building saying 01 980 6398, another sign on the front saying 081 980 6398 and a banner on the wall saying 020 8980 6398. Across the road Star Cars can only manage 0181 980 9999 and 020 8980 9999. 7) Bus Stop A still displays a tile saying National Express coach A7 stops here, when it's long been the case that the Stansted service is the A8. An A7 timetable dated 21st May 2018 isn't helping matters. 8) Whenever I see a horse-drawn hearse outside the Catholic church, I also look out for last-minute mourners who parked their 4×4s on a red route and now have hefty parking fines. 9) Over the summer the Noor salon and the Noor2 barbers swapped shops, so it's now waxing and blowdry where the skin fades used to be and skin fades where the waxing and blowdry used to be. No reason for the exchange is evident, although they did throw out a lot of old fittings. 10) On the approach to the Bow Roundabout the surface of Cycle Superhighway 2 is now badly cracked, like overcooked pastry or a parched oasis. It's not as bad as further up where CS2 crosses Marshgate Lane, but the blue covering really hasn't lasted. Also, given it's now been seven years, perhaps someone could take down the 'New Road Layout Ahead' sign.
11) The former St Clements Hospital has pretty much completed its transformation into mostly-affordable flats, returning the pavement outside to full public use after years of narrow shuffling. They seem to be struggling to sell the four luxury flats in the clocktower, however. 12) The long thin Tesco Express under the Kira Building is the only place on Bow Road where you can buy a Costa Coffee and/or a Meal Deal, both of which are prominently advertised in the window. 13) The Methodist Church offers a free hot meal every Friday at 7pm, because even a Costa Coffee and/or a Meal Deal isn't within every local resident's reach. 14) At the top of Wellington Way, where commuters might once have seen it when heading to the tube, is a very empty Time Out magazine hopper labelled 'Pick Up Your Free Copy Here'. 15) The horse chestnut tree outside Bow Road station shed its conkers a couple of months ago and only has about half its foliage left. It caught that leaf blotch fungus a few years back and the leaves now start to dry and shrivel in the summer.
16) Number 86 Bow Road already has an evergreen wreath on its front door, ribbons and all, and someone's wrapped a festive trim around the conifer alongside. This kind of thing ought to be illegal in the first half of November. 17) Just to warn you, a squad of revenue inspectors was checking everyone emerging from Bow Church station yesterday, all afternoon, and whilst I can't guarantee they're still there they do have a habit of doing this so freeloaders beware. 18) The food offer at the Bow Bells pub is provided by Guppa Kitchen Pizzeria. Given the location they've given some of their pizzas Cockney names, so the meat feast is a Beef Up Mother Brown and the veggie option is an Uncle Reg. They're also shamelessly courting West Ham fans with a salami and gorgonzola combo called a Claret and Blue. 19) TfL have hung big yellow speed limit banners from many of the lampposts down Bow Road, mainly to double up on the proper speed limit signs but also to remind traffic pouring off the roundabout and flyover that it's only 20 down here now. 20) A large 'concertina' door lurks under the Bow Flyover at the point where the viaduct lands. I've never once seen it open and have often wondered what might be lurking in the void behind.
n.b. Although you can only see 4 photos, there are in fact 22 photos here.