At lunchtime today, Julie, Lisa, Ben and I could be found at Beckenham Junction Station making up a group of 12 led by Kat Webb on her regular walk around the town, ‘In Ziggy’s footsteps.’ Kat has been taking groups around his old haunts for over two years and she proved an entertaining host with her combination of photos and stories.
Bowie lived in Beckenham for around three years – 1969 to 1972 – during which time he rose from being a struggling ‘one-hit wonder’ to international fame.
We first visited 24 Foxgrove Road where he lived with Mary Finnigan, before walking up Southend Road to the site of of the infamous Haddon Hall. Sadly, both residences have been replaced by blocks of flats. We then entered Beckenham Place Park where he used to rehearse with his drama group and the Hall’s back entrance where Bowie and the Spiders used to escape from the hoards of fans at the front entrance.
The group then returned to the High Street, stopping at Zizzi’s restaurant, site of the former pub the Three Tuns, home to the Beckenham Arts Lab he founded with Mary in May 1969. Our last main stop was the bandstand in Croydon Rec, site of the Beckenham Free Festival on 16 August 1969. Kat produced a very tasty chocolate cake, which she had baked to mark the 49th anniversary this week since the Festival.
Our thanks to Kat for a very informative look into Bowie’s life in the town. A must for any discerning fan.