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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

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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.  

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