Beckenham Soultown Festival

The Beckenham Soultown Festival (BSF) Concert in Croydon Road Rec took place from noon to midnight on 22.9.18.

I did not attend as a paying customer, but on the morning of the event I went into the Rec and and I took a lot of photos of the preparations for the concert.

I contacted the organisers and learned that the event would take place again in 2019.

It seems that next year’s event is already being promoted by a video of this year’s event included on the website.

www.soultownfestival.co.uk/

Beckenham Remembrance Day Service

Beckenham War Memorial

On Sunday, I attended the Beckenham Remembrance Day Service.

There were far more people present than I have seen for any event in Beckenham: this includes the Remembrance Day Service for 2000 when I took photos for the Beckenham Photographic Society’s Millennium CD Rom and a few years ago when I represented the Copers Cope Area Residents Association at the Service.

The last time there was a similar turnout was when huge crowds witnessed the Olympic Torch being carried through Beckenham on July 23rd 2012.

I took many photos and below are some together with a copy of the photo which appeared in the Beckenham Journal when the memorial was opened in 1921.

Cliff Watkins

12th November 2018

David Bowie Festival 2018

BOWIE’S BECKENHAM ODDITY is an annual fundraiser, supported by David Bowie when he provided signed items for auction at the event.

Money raised goes to the Bandstand Restoration & Plaque Fund.

More below…

 

BOWIE’S BECKENHAM ODDITY/BANDSTAND DAY 2018
Saturday, 11th August – 12 noon to 8.30pm
Croydon Road Recreation Centre, Beckenham, BR3 3PR

“Someone passed some bliss among the crowd…”

Bowie’s Beckenham Oddity continues…..

 

Tickets: http://bowiesbeckenhamoddity.com/tickets
Email: bowiesbeckenhamoddity@gmail.com
Mobile: 07538 984631

 

A Bowie Bust for Beckenham

A Bowie Bust for Beckenham

Italian architect and sculptor, Maria Primolan, is donating her latest sculpture, a life size bust of David Bowie, to Beckenham to help raise awareness and funds for the restoration of the bandstand in Croydon Road Recreation Ground.

At 2 pm on Saturday, August 12th, Maria will be on the bandstand, where she will be introduced to the many hundreds of fans attending the 5th Bowie themed concert, by the Mayor of Bromley, Kathy Bance.

The bust has been hand carved in lime wood and the face is that of the young Bowie who was living in Beckenham when his Hunky Dory album was released in 1971. This album, Maria’s favourite, was rehearsed in the nearby Azelia Hall.  On the album was Life on Mars – another of Maria’s favourite tracks – which Bowie had written on a lovely sunny summer’s day in 1971 seated on the bandstand steps.

In particular, Maria has asked the Mayor “to permanently expose this sculpture in a public area – either inside or outside – on Beckenham territory, in order to make it visible to people and visitors.”

Maria has requested  that “the sculpture must not be sold or given to others in the future: it is a gift I am giving to your community from my heart.“

The title of the sculpture is “GOODBYE MR BOWIE”.

For more information, please contact:

Maria: primolanmaria@gmail.com, site: www.mariaprimolan.it

Cliff Watkins: cliffwatkins61@gmail.com

Wendy Faulkner: bowiesbeckenhamoddity@gmail.com

Professional photo by Antonio Sandro Crisà https://it-it.facebook.com/antonio.s.crisa

David Bowie Festival 2017

BOWIE’S BECKENHAM ODDITY is an annual fundraiser, supported by David Bowie when he provided signed items for auction at the event.

This year the Bowie Archive has donated another item signed by him, more details of which will follow before the festival in August.

Money raised goes to the Bandstand Restoration & Plaque Fund.

More below…

flyer image 1

 

BOWIE’S BECKENHAM ODDITY/BANDSTAND DAY 2017
Saturday, 12th August – 12 noon to 8pm
Croydon Road Recreation Centre, Beckenham, BR3 3PR

“Someone passed some bliss among the crowd…”

Bowie’s Beckenham Oddity continues…..

In 1969 a young curly haired man who went by the name of David Bowie co-organised a festival at Croydon Road Recreation Ground, South London. He even later went on to immortalise that day in his song ‘Memory Of A Free Festival’, which also appeared on his Space Oddity album. Bowie fans worldwide – join us in celebrating the life and musical legacy of David Bowie, The Growth Summer Festival of 1969, The Arts Lab, The Spiders From Mars and beyond….

Our celebratory day promises to be better than ever with food and drink, market stalls, merchandise, face painting plus a Bowie themed raffle and auction. This year’s festival kicks off at midday. Our line-up will be announced shortly, so watch this space: http://smarturl.it/BowieBandStand

Tickets are £10 (under 10’s free) and all money raised will go to the Bandstand Restoration and Plaque Fund.

At last year’s event Bowie fans united from around the world and helped raise over £17,250 for the project. The Edwardian bandstand in Beckenham (now named the Bowie Bandstand), will always be the ideal place to honour his memory (especially in the Beckenham/Bromley area), as well as being an important part of local history.

This is the first Festival anniversary year without Bowie. In 2016 we were all shocked by the news of his death as for many of us he was the soundtrack to our lives. His musical legacy continues and will gain new generations of fans around the globe for many years to come. The Oddity event organiser, Wendy Faulkner, had this to say:

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“Aylesbury will soon have a Bowie statue as a lasting tribute to the great man, Brixton also has its mural. And so we need the Bowie Bandstand in Beckenham fully restored in his honour and for all the other musicians that performed at that original event of 1969.

Bowie will always be loved and sadly missed by millions of people worldwide, so let’s get this bandstand restored!”

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Tickets: http://smarturl.it/BowieBandStand
Email: bowiesbeckenhamoddity@gmail.com
Mobile: 07538 984631

The event is supported by London Borough of Bromley Council and sponsored by Lollipop Events

“We’re gonna have a party…”

David Bowie Festival 2013

MEMORY OF A FREE FESTIVAL

“…The Sun machine is Coming Down, and we’re Gonna Have a Party…” 

Bowie It raineth 01

CELEBRATING DAVID BOWIE AND THE BECKENHAM ARTS LAB.

Sunday afternoon in the park in the residential south London town of Beckenham may not conjure up visions of youthful exuberance and rock music – but on Sunday September 15th, 2013  in Croydon Road Recreation Ground hundreds of people enjoyed typical Glastonbury style rain to celebrate David Bowie – Beckenham’s most famous former resident, the legacy of the Arts Laboratory he co-founded, and the sensational Free Festival that he and Arts Lab members staged on the Bandstand in the park in 1969.

The Festival was “free” as the modest entry fee of £5 plus donations were collected to raise funds to restore the historic bandstand which:

  • was opened in 1891 by Beckenham’s recently celebrated Tom Thornton
  • 21 years later, was used by Beckenham’s Harold Bride – the hero of the Titanic – to address cheering crowds in the park.
  • and for most of the 20th Century, witnessed civic and royal ceremonies, balloon flights and flower shows which rivalled Chelsea in popularity.

Today in an age of austerity there are not council funds to pay for repairs and it was left to Natasha Ryzhova, a Bowie fan from Russia, to galvanise the Friends of Croydon Road Rec into action. In her room in Moscow, Natasha kept a copy of the iconic photo of the young curly headed Bowie on her wall. When she moved to Beckenham a few years ago, she was surprised and delighted to find that, virtually on her doorstep, was Bowie’s bandstand; but aghast at its condition. So she persuaded the Friends to stage an event similar to the original Free Festival.

Members of the Arts Lab some 40 years ago were encouraged to do their own thing and this ethos underlined the 2013 event. As well Bowie classics created and performed during  Bowie’s five years in Beckenham from 1969 to 1973, the seven groups taking part (some 70 musicians in total) played much of their own original music.

All the performers  quoted David Bowie as their inspiration to take up music and they played for free. As a result over £900 was raised to repair the roof on the bandstand.

The 2013 Free Festival provided over 3 hours of live music from 3 to 6.30 pm. The performers taking part included:

The Thin White Duke a Bowie tribute group which played 5 Bowie numbers including Life on Mars and Space Oddity – both of which have links to the band stand.

Bill Liesegang  Bowie’ s own tribute to the 1969 event song – Memory of a Free Festival

Amory Kane who flew in from the USA to reprise some of the songs he performed in the 1969 Free festival.

Others taking part were  Raf and O, Keval, Low Rent Tractors, Scott Fuller and John Aldington.

Have a look at the picture gallery here

and some video here

W G Grace Centenary Celebrations

W G Grace Centenary Celebrations

The Centenary Celebrations for W G Grace , in Beckenham on Friday 23rd October, 2015,  who died age 67 on 23rd October 1915,

“He  swung his bat and turned his arm on the green and pleasant fields of Beckenham in his last years; his memory remains with us forever.”

On Friday, 23rd October 2015 there will be two W.G. Centenary Events:

1.       At 4.30 pm Derek Carpenter will be conducting a Remembrance Service at W.G.’s grave in Beckenham Cemetery.

2.       At 7.30 pm in St George’s Church, Beckenham, W.G. ‘s life will be commemorated at a Service conducted by the former Bishop of Rochester and Durham, The Rt Revd Dr Michael Turnbull (a MCC member) when the guests will include  notable cricketing names and the BBC Sports personality, Rob Bonnet who will be talking about ‘Cricket and a Beckenham Boyhood’ .

All are invited to the Service when high class music will be provided by St George’s Choir and Peter Warlock’s Cricketers of Hambledon will be sung by the professional singer Malcom Banham who lives in Beckenham.

Background Notes:

The cricketing career of Dr William Gilbert Grace, W.G. as he was known, spanned 48 years from 1861 to 1908.  During his 43 years as a first-class player he scored 54,896 runs, including 126 centuries, and took 2,876 wickets. He made his Test debut at the age of 32 in 1880.

Aged 52 in 1900, when his international career was over, he formed the London County Cricket Club based at Crystal Palace Park, Beckenham. He played first-class county matches with them until 1908.  During these years he often appeared during the annual cricket weeks at Beckenham Cricket Club when he drew huge crowds to Foxgrove Road.

W.G. continued to play minor cricket after his retirement from the first-class version. His final match was for Eltham Cricket Club at Grove Park on 25 July 1914, a week after his 66th birthday.  He died in Eltham on 23rd October, 1915 and is buried in the Beckenham Cemetery in Elmers End.

In October 1998 to mark the 150th anniversary of Grace’s birth, the Revd Canon Derek Carpenter organised a graveside ceremony in Beckenham Ceremony and conducted a service in St George’s Church, Beckenham.

On March 26th  2011, Grace was celebrated in the  Fanfare for Beckenham, Concert  which took place in the Church on March 26th when  the audience were invited to join in the chorus when the Lewisham Concert Band and Paul Allen performed Peter Warlock’s rousing drinking song  The Cricketers of Hambledon.

 

 

Arts & Heritage Evening

Arts & Heritage Evening

Venue 28 (formerly the studio)

Friday, 17th July 2015

6.00 pm to 9.30 pm

Come and enjoy paintings by local artists in this wonderful newly renovated Victorian building. Meet the artists. Free drinks and canapés with live music by a jazz ensemble.

Also see the exhibition telling the story of the Clock House District of Beckenham, since c. 1750 and the lives of many notable local people, like Brett, Bride and the Blytons.

For more information contact

Bernard, Belleberry Deli
07715302767
02086582568
 

 

 

 

David Bowie Plaque

bowieplaque

 

Foxgrove Road was David’s first home in Beckenham in 1969 before he moved later that year to Haddon Hall, an Edwardian mansion in Southend Road, where he lived until 1973. 

With friends from Foxgrove Road, David founded a Folk Club in the Three Tuns in 1969. This developed into the Arts Lab which attracted all types of artistic talent from all over London.

The anthem to the 1960’s, Space Oddity, became a hit in 1969 and in 1972 David launched his career with the mega hit  Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars.

The plaque is not blue.  Blue plaques commemorate the departed.  This plaque is red (Ziggy Stardust’s hair) and gold (which glitters) in celebration of the living legend of Bowie and all those who performed in the Arts Lab and were with him during those Beckenham Years.

The plaque was unveiled by Mary Finnigan and Christina Ostrom at the Three Tuns, then called The Rat & Parrot, on December 6th, 2001.

Thanks are due to the family business of Ridgequest Foundry for the manufacture of the plaque which was funded and erected by the Copers Cope Area Residents Association (CCARA) and the Noble House Pub Company.  The plaque was designed by CCARA member Cliff Watkins who, with Paul Kinder of bowiewonderworld.com, organised the day’s events.

 Design:  Cliff Watkins

Manufacture:  Ridgequest Foundry

Paint:  Bolloms

 The Plaque was funded and erected by Beckenham’s Copers Cope Area Residents Association and Noble House Pub Company.

 

This is an excerpt from the unveiling of the David Bowie Plaque unveiling video. The original video includes interviews with various figures from The Arts Lab days.

Video ©2001 EditPoint  www.editpoint.co.uk.

Bowie Plaque Day, 6th December 2001. Report on Paul Kinder’s Website 7.12.2001

Yesterday 6th December 2001, Beckenham celebrated their famous former resident DAVID BOWIE with a plaque hung at The Rat & Parrot (formerly The Three Tuns) to celebrate and recognise David’s involvement in their town with The Arts Laboratory he co-founded at the pub.

Some people like to arrive fashionably late, we arrived an unfashionable 4 hours late! And unfortunately missed the unveiling, Steve Harley’s performance and at least 8 pints necking down time. Motorway traffic was horrendous, and chauffeur for the day poor Stephen K drove for a record 7 hours non stop. The journey should of been 4 hours at the most but having arrived in Beckenham via the scenic route we unfortunately didn’t arrive until gone 2 o’clock. Aren’t traffic jams wonderful?

I felt worse for the DJ Craig (aka Tony Day), he’s probably Steve Harley’s biggest fan and sadly missed it all. Craig got his set up, set up in record time and started spinning his discs and doing his thing. He did a grand job. As a special thank you to Craig I had a word with Kevin Cann and explained the situation and he kindly promised he’d sort him out next time Steve performs and get some autographed items. Thanks Kevin 🙂

Pictured here (courtesy of Total Blam Blam and Eddie Harris) are Mary Finnigan and Christina Ostrom who unveiled the plaque, with Mary giving her speech followed by recollections from Christina.

Stephen Roberts says he just watched the the video footage he shot through the day and the evening. There were loads of police there because they were training some new police officers in crowd control, so there were about 10-14 of them. This started a rumour that David was going to turn up which in turn brought more crowds.

Everyone I spoke to said Steve Harley gave a great 30 minutes along with his brilliant guitarist Robbie Gladwell. He performed classics such as ‘Judy Teen’, ‘Sebastian’, ‘Star For A Week’, ‘Mr Soft’ and ‘Make Me Smile’ (Come Up And See Me).

Stephen Roberts performed one song with his acoustic guitar, which went down really well. After speaking with sore-throated Stephen today I get the feeling he’s got some of the old taste back for performing. Go for it son!

Mark Carr Pritchett brought along his Hagstrom 12-string acoustic guitar that formerly belonged to David. Comment from someone in the crowd: “I can’t believe that’s THE actual guitar!”

Paul Henderson and Rob Storm both played great sets and went down really well. How on earth they’ve got the bottle to perform live in front of 150 or so hardcore Bowie fans is beyond me. I think it just goes to show how good they actually are.

Seven piece band Little Wonder performed a great tight set, playing a bag full of Bowie songs. The sound of 7 musicians playing in a very small venue was overwhelmingly wonderful. They sounded absolutely brilliant. For me ‘Scary Monsters’ did it – brilliant! Then to top it all, the encore at the end, Paul and Rob joined in with the band and got the crowd going ape.

A lot of the credit for the excellent sound with all the musicians goes to all the sound engineers. Brilliant job done guys.

Band member Craig from Little Wonder said: “U lot rock! What a great crowd in Beckenham! Thanks to everyone who came – we had a great time. Good to meet everyone. Faces to names and all that.You all know far too much about Bowie, far too much about the songs, and I think you’re all mad as hat stands, but to use the cliche… you certainly know how to party. I know the band loved it, as did all of the other acts. Thanks for a great night.”

The auctions and raffle went down rather well. Big thanks you to everyone who bought tickets and bid on items. All the money raised goes directly to the childrens charity. You’re a generous lot 🙂 All in all, with the collection boxes, raffle, auctions, barstaff charity events, and with the forthcoming DB and Visconti signed photos to be auctioned online – we estimate it will easily reach a thousand pounds raised for the childrens charity 🙂

Apart from this amount there is also the donations to be added from the forthcoming “photo packs” as well as donations from every video sold by Brett. If you saw the photos behind the bar on the large white board, which later raised over £50 each in the auction, these will be part of the special limited edition ‘Three Tuns’ photo pack along with recently written contributions from people who were directly involved in the Arts Lab, will be available to order. Proceeds from the ‘packs’ are to help raise money for the Chernobyl Children Life Line Charity of which Stephen is heavily involved with. Exclusively written contributions from David Bowie, Mary Finnigan, Ken ‘Wild Man’ Simmons, Stephen Roberts, The Diary of Steve Hippy, Mark Carr Pritchett, as well as extracts and information about The Arts Lab taken from various sources. Watch this space for full details in the next few days.

The video shot by Brett Allen to produce a professional record of the daytime events. Brett captured people recalling their own memories of the Arts Lab days. Along with this, Brett is to film various places relating to David Bowie in the Beckenham and Bromley areas. Brett has very kindly offered to donate money to the children’s charity on each video sold. Again, watch this space for full details in the next few days.

Landlord Alan and Tammy did a absolutely marvellous job of pulling all this together. Their generosity in ‘sponsoring’ the children’s charity before and after the event helping raise money is more than we ever wished to hope for. Many thanks from us all.

A big thank you to the barstaff who did an absolutely wonderful job. Dressed in their Bowie T-shirts and Aladdin Sane lightning bolts across the faces, they collected money and sold raffle tickets above and beyond the call of duty.

I emailed David this morning and sent him the above photograph of the plaque. I’m sure he won’t mind me informing everyone that he responded immediately with the comment: “It’s so swishy.” I think you can safely take from that he’s well chuffed about it.

On behalf of everyone involved in this event I would like to personally send a huge thank you to everyone on behalf of the Chernobyl Children Life Line charity who contributed, helped, donated, sung, sang, played, attended, supported, gave money, gave time, gave effort, wrote, reported, filmed, drove friends, travelled, gave encouragement and signed stuff – it was an absolutely marvellous event and fingers crossed it will renamed back to The Three Tuns and turned into an annual event.

 

A big thank you also goes out to Matthew Fisher who made The Three Tuns a subject of national importance when he nominated its inclusion in the BBC History Magazine Domesday project. *

 

Last but not least, on behalf of all David Bowie fans everywhere the biggest thank you goes to Mr. Cliff Watkins of the CCARA, who has spent the last six months organising this whole overall event, including a video made by Brett Allen. We Bowie fans salute you… you did the boy proud!

Rednik.

7th December 2001.

BW MB Profile…

 

*  In the March 2001 of the BBC HISTORY magazine  the winners for their ‘new Domesday Book for the new Millennium’ were featured. In second place was the The Rat and Parrot Pub (aka The Three Tuns), Beckenham, Kent. Nominated by Mr. Matthew Fisher.

This was the venue for Sunday evening meetings of David Bowie’s ‘Beckenham Arts Lab’ in 1969 – an informal gathering of musicians and artists. In the face of local opposition, The Three Tuns was renamed The Rat and Parrot in 1995 and is now part of a chain of similarly branded pubs. The judges were enthused by this nomination and its importance for the history of popular culture, unrecorded at present. It also highlighted the familiar issue of changes to historic pub names. CDW , although the brewery tell us it is not inconceivable that the pub could one day be renamed The Three Tuns. ‘What’s in a name? A lot when you look into it,’