From 1855, the civil duties of the Parish were taken over by the Poplar Board of Works. Between 1899 and 1965 that district formed the Metropolitan Borough of Poplar, within the London County Council. In 1967, the London Underground station at Bromley was renamed to Bromley-by-Bow to distinguish it from the stations at Bromley in the London Borough of Bromley some 8 miles (12.9 km) to the south. Over time the station's name has extended to the area and today it is nearly always known as Bromley-by-Bow. Bow itself was originally known as Stratforde, becoming Stratford-at-Bow when a medieval bridge was built, in the shape of a bow.
This was a barbed reference, as it implied the Prioress had learned French, from the Benedictine nuns, in a distinct Anglo-Norman dialect, that by this time had lost prestige, and was being ridiculed as sub-standard French.
- Ther was also a nonne, a prioresse,
- That of hir smylyng was ful symple and coy;
- Hire gretteste ooth was but by seinte loy;
- And she was cleped madame eglentyne.
- Ful weel she soong the service dyvyne,
- Entuned in hir nose ful semely,
- And frenssh she spak ful faire and fetisly,
- After the scole of stratford atte bowe,
- For frenssh of parys was to hire unknowe.
The Abbey was destroyed at the time of the Dissolution, and the manor and lands passed to Sir Ralph Sadleir, who lived at Sutton House, in Homerton and was privy councillor to Henry VIII. The church was retained to become the parish church of St Leonards. This in turn was destroyed by bombing in World War II, and obliterated by the building of the Blackwall Tunnel approach road, dividing the main residential body of the parish from the river front. All that remains of the grounds of the Abbey is a small neglected churchyard.
The Revd Richard Enraght, religious controversialist, was the Curate of St Michael and All Angels Church in St Leonards Road from 1884-1888 and Rector of St Gabriel Church (now demolished), Chrisp Street (Poplar), from 1888-1895.
The Bromley by Bow Centre is a radical approach to integrate health care, with nursery care, training opportunities and a community centre. It has been cited as a model for the future development of community services and healthcare.
Tenure in Bromley-by-Bow ward was predominantly rented with only 15% of households being owner-occupiers. Census data indicates that the proportion of households in rented tenure was higher than the average for the borough. 60% of males were economically active with total unemployment being around 16% compared to 11% for the borough as a whole.