Archive | September, 2019

Pie & Priestley at Jacobs Well a steaming success including an upper crust steaming pie! Owner Dan Horsman, showman Glyn Watkins and chef Chris Hall

15 Sep


A pie night to celebrate J.B.Priestley’s birthday and a meat and potato pie that defied Hitler at the Jacobs Well pub in Bradford has been declared a steaming success. 

Pie and Priestley is an annual event run by Bradford based poet and showman Glyn Watkins on the 13th September; who did two sets of illustrated readings to appreciative audiences who witnessed the recreation of a steaming pie that was once world famous, and who afterwards feasted on pie and pies baked in the Jacobs newly refurbished kitchen. 

The idea for the event occurred to Glyn over 20 years ago and came from a BBC radio broadcast Priestley made after returning home to Bradford to see the damage a German bombing raid had caused. He had been told that a pie shop that always had a gigantic steaming pie in the window had been destroyed, but to his joy it had survived to steam defiance at ‘…Hitler, Goering and the whole gang off them. It was glorious.’ That made the pie the most famous one in the world.

The shop was owned by a Mr Roberts and once stood on Godwin Street, roughly where the entrance to the Kirkgate Centre carpark is. After his death his widow reportedly offered the pie to Bradford’s Museum service, but they refused to take it, so it was thrown away! 

Glyn usually advertised his events by walking around with a big pie, but this year he managed to make the pie even more upper crust. He read the original broadcast and at the last line:

‘… a pie that steamed for forty-five years and successfully defied an air-raid to steam again has its own proper place.’

He drew back a cloth and revealed his pie steaming away like mad! Like Mr Roberts he refused to reveal the secret, but did say that it was thanks to equipment he had bought from the Kirkgate Market, only a short distance from where the original pie had steamed.

The event was also the first test a future ‘Pie of the Month’ offer. Jacobs’ chef Chris Hall created meat and potato and vegetarian butter pies which were so good at least one member of the audience had a second pie! 

Jacobs’ owner Dan Horsman declared himself well pleased with the success of the event and has already started planning a Pie of the month offer’ and next year’s Pie & Priestley Night’ with Glyn.  


Pie & Priestley a steaming success.

14 Sep

Dan of Jacobs Well happy because I helped him sell beer and pies, me happy because I managed 2 good shows and made my pie steam, and Chris Hall with one of his brilliant pies.

About Glyn Watkins, Bradford based poet and showman, in Bradford Review 43

3 Sep


Read the whole magazine via this link

Rough transcript of the contents of the Glyn Watkins article below

Many places in the world have special things that mark the changing of the seasons. Japan has cherry blossom marking the beginning of Spring and England has shops starting to sell Christmas stuff marking the ending of Summer.

Bradford seems to have developed it’s own peculiar signs of early spring and passing summer in the shape of a oddly dressed bloke who appears on the streets as a fluorescent bishop in January, and carrying a foot wide pie any time from June.

He also appears dressed as a mad hatter to advertise ‘Hat Throwing’ competitions he has invented.

The man is Glyn Watkins, Bradford based, self proclaimed, ‘poet, writer and showman’. 

This year Glyn is wearing his top hat to advertise the Yorkshire Hat Throwing Championship at Bowling Hall Museum, Bradford; part of a full day of events celebrating Yorkshire Day, Thursday 1st August, from 11.00. 

The competition involve landing a hat on a target, so is a measure of skill and hand eye coordination, rather than strength, and is suitable for all ages. T.I.F.F.T.H.A rules (Transnational Institute of Formally Thrown Hat Associations) say that all hats must be safe to throw, that no metal is allowed, and that neither hat abuse or hat fighting will be tolerated.

The Museum is free to enter and the Hat Throwing entry is by donation.

The fluorescent Bishop is part of Glyn’s remarkably successful campaign to get Bradford celebrating Bishop Blaise, the Patron Saint of Woolcombers, after a near 200 year gap. The Saint’s Day is on the 3rd February, and this year saw the Bradford Industrial Museum had a record February attendance figure for Bradford’s first wool festival; a festival both Glyn and the Museum have committed to repeat next year on the first Sunday in February.

The pie is baked by Glyn has his website in the crust (making it his iPie) and is to draw attention to his celebration of J.B.Priestely’s birthday on the 13th September, and: ‘a meat and potato pie that defied Hitler!’ 

That pie was made famous by a BBC Radio broadcast Bradford born Priestley made in September 1940, part of a series called ‘Postscripts’. Bradford had been bombed and while nobody was hurt, Priestley had been told that a pie shop that used to have a massive pie in the window that had steam coming out of the top had been destroyed.

Priestley came home to see the damage, and perhaps stand in the ruins of the shop to  “…catch perhaps a last faint lingering whiff of that steam…”. But to his joy the pie was damaged but the pie was still there “Every puff and jet of that steam defied Hitler, Goering, and the whole gang of them. It was glorious.”

So for 20 odd years Glyn has been doing shows on 13th September where people listen to him reading Priestley, look at pictures he project, and eat meat and potato pie (or vegetarian alternative) and peas.

This year the celebration is at the Jacobs Well public house on Kent Street in central Bradford. He will be doing two shows. One at 16.00 and another at 19.00. It is free entry, but pies will have to be paid for. There will be a choice of home made meat and potato or a vegetarian butter pie (potato and butter in a pie!). This event will also be the launch of Jacobs as a pie provider, which intends introducing a Pie of the Month feature.

Check Glyn’s show page at for details, or find @hatthrowing on instagram.