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Matilda, Queen of England, daughter of King Malcolm III of Scotland and wife of William the Conqueror’s son, King Henry I, is said to have nearly lost her life crossing the tidal River Lea at Old Ford. The Roman road was notorious with travellers and Essex farmers trying to reach the haymarkets that ran along what is now the Bow and Mile End Road.

Queen Matilda paid for a bridge to be constructed. It was in the ‘French style’ like a ‘bow’ and was the first arched stone bridge in the UK. This is how the area got its name.

The 1963 Bow flyover was built over its foundations.

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