I lived there you see

So my eldest is flat hunting in the East End. Out of the blue he says

Dad, what do you know about Bromley by Bow?’

What? Other than the fact that the area is said to gets its name from the shape of the bridge built over the river Lea by Maude, wife of King Henry 1?

Or that it is built on the site of a medieval convent, dedicated to St Leonard?

Or that following the Dissolution, the priory chapel became the parish church, but Second World War damage and construction of the Blackwall Tunnel northern approach destroyed much of what was left?

Or that the notorious Kray twins had a club on Bow road?

Or that Mahatma Gandhi stayed in the community centre, Kingsley Hall when he visited the UK in 1931.

Or that the Bow Quarter was original site of the Bryant and May match factory and scene of the 1888 strike, when the workers, mainly women went on strike for better conditions.

Or that I celebrated my 25th birthday with a party in the Priory Tavern.

Or that the Spratts Patent Ltd manufactured dog biscuits from the 1860s (It says here) and erected the first billboard in London? It doesn’t say where though

… Isle of Dogs maybe … Barking …?

The view from our terrace. 1985 Bromley By Bow

View from my eldest’s terrace Bromley By Bow 2017



The Baron was my flat-mate at 60, Corbin House, Bow and is perhaps best known for his naked sleepwalk, down into the courtyard of the 1930’s tenement and out on to the Mile End road. But did you know he was something of a chef? Capable of subtle and sophisicated dishes, such as this one: The Baron’s Chicken Surprise.

It was nineteen eighty something or other and like the rest of us The Baron was fond of a few scoops. So much so that he would often go out with friends straight after work with the result that he frequently came home early, starving hungry.

It was an occasion such as this that he perfected his ‘Chicken Surprise’


  • Half a chicken
  • Salt and Pepper to taste


  • Put on baking tray in a cold oven and forget about it for 4 days.

I know nothing of this. Fast forward four days, The Baron asks in passing if I have seen a half a chicken.

‘That’s funny’ he says ‘I could have sworn I bought half a chicken from Tesco’s.

It is sometime later when something draws me to the oven. I open the door to find the dessicated remains of what seems like a bit of Mile End roadkill.

‘I think I’ve found your chicken’ I tell him.

The Baron swears he has no memory of this. Piecing the story together, it seems that The Baron is a little tired and emotional as well as hungry on the night in question. He puts the chicken in the oven, but neglects to turn the oven on. After watching TV for about 20 minutes, he announces he’s off to bed.

looking nothing at all like this

looking nothing at all like this

Imagine if he had managed to turn the oven on and then forgotten about it?

That’s The Baron for you. Mad, Bad and Dangerous to know

© Andy Daly 2016