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Built in 1905, this is the last traditional bandstand in Bromley, made famous by glam rock icon, David Bowie. It is also the last surviving example built by the Victorian Glasgow foundry, McCallum & Hope, and a particularly fine example of its type. The Beckenham Bandstand hosted many national and civic celebrations over the decades, but none more famous than the Free Festival of August 1969, when Bowie played for the people of Beckenham at the bandstand. The Festival coincided with Woodstock in the US: three days of peace, free love and music.

“The children of the summer's end gathered in the dampened grass/ We played our songs and felt the London sky…. Climbing through the ivory vibrant cloud/Someone passed some bliss among the crowd/ And we walked back to the road, unchained” – Memory of a Free Festival, David Bowie.

'Life on Mars?', Bowie's 1971 song, is thought to have been penned on the front steps of the bandstand.

The Beckenham bandstand was in a poor condition for some years, with heavily corroded ironwork, flaking paint, damaged guttering, steps and brickwork. The project, led by the local community and Bromley Council, included restoration of the delicate ironwork, new roofing, repainting and removing the 1950s/1960s railings. Work was completed in summer 2024 and the project was generously supported by Knight Frank.


HOLT advised on the ironwork and gave a grant, towards both this and the gilding. A scale model of the bandstand was commissioned as part of a partnership with Arts University Bournemouth. Through our Proud Prospects programme, many local young people have visited and researched the site to give presentations at City law firm, Jones Day.

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