In front of Bow Church stands the statue of 19th century politician William Ewart Gladstone. The explanation for his red hands lies in the back of the statue, in the inscription ‘A gift to the east of London of Theodore H. Bryant’. This refers to Bryant & May Matches, a Bow factory where matchgirls' meagre pay was skimmed to finance Bryant's statue. At the unveiling, several girls smuggled stones in their pockets, cut their hands and bloodied the statue in protest. The red paint on the statue stands as a tribute to these brave women.
Local photographer Massimo Iannetti tours the public art of Bow and Globe Town in a new feature, linked in bio. 🎨