There’s a pub in the area of Bow in London’s East End near to Tower Hamlets. I have to say after visiting it once that it isn’t the nicest of pubs I’ve ever been to but it does have a very interesting story that coincides with today’s date or rather the allocation of today being Good Friday. The pub is called “The Widow’s Son”.
Many years ago, far back in the early-1800’s a widow used to live in a cottage that was originally on the site. The pub is named after her story.
Her only son who was away at sea serving in the Navy was due to return on Good Friday and so the legend goes had asked his mother to bake some Hot-Cross buns for his return…
… but he never returned.
Every Good Friday afterwards she baked a fresh batch so he would always have one waiting for him. And every year he didn’t turn up she added one to those that she had kept from the previous years, hanging them from a beam in the cottage which became known locally as ‘The Bun House’.
After she died the pub was built on the site of the cottage and the story was kept alive by all the subsequent landlords.
It is now tradition that every year members of the Royal Navy visit the pub on Good Friday and add a new bun to the collection and so has been the case for well over 150 years. Some of the buns are now as hard as bricks having been hanging for so long – effectively petrified (or whatever is the term you’d apply to what happens to very stale Hot-Cross buns).
Although a story of tragedy in that the woman never got to see her son again, perhaps each year just the memory of him alone was always enough for her to turn it into a Good Friday anyway.