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David Bowie’s London: 13 places connected to the star’s life and career

David Bowie mural, Brixton
Robert Lordan David Bowie mural, Brixton

Cabbie and Bowie fan Robert Lordan pays tribute to the late legend in pics.

It’s tough to sum up what the late, great David Bowie meant to myself and countless others. So I’ll keep it simple. He was a legend. He was a Londoner. This great city should be immensely proud of him. So to honour his life and career, here's a round-up of some of the London sites connected to the star: 


Tributes at David Bowie's place of birth, Stansfield Road

40 Stansfield Road, SW9

It was at this Brixton address on January 8 1947 that David Robert Jones was born. His mum Peggy worked as a waitress and cinema usherette while his father John was employed by the children’s charity Barnardo’s. When David was six, the family moved further out into suburban Bromley.


Stockwell Primary SchoolRobert Lordan

Stockwell Primary School, SW9

Just around the corner from Stansfield Road is Stockwell Primary School where the young David gained a reputation for ‘defiance and brawling’. Later, when he was 14 and a pupil at Bromley Technical High School (now called Ravens Wood), David was punched in the face by his friend, George Underwood during a bust-up over a girl. Despite damaging David’s eye permanently (although, let’s be honest, it did leave him looking pretty darn cool), the pair remained life-long mates.


Denmark StreetRobert Lordan


Denmark Street, WC2H

In the 1960s, Denmark Street’s La Gioconda Café (now the Flat Iron restaurant) was where the teenage mod David would come to chill with his pal, Mark Feld – aka glam rocker Marc Bolan. In between scandalising folk with their long, flowing hair, David and Marc would scour adverts in the music press, eagerly trying to find a way into the biz. As it turned out, David’s first agent ended up being right next door to the café – at number 7 Denmark Street.


The former Decca StudiosRobert Lordan

 Decca Studios (now owned by the English National Opera), Broadhurst Gardens, NW6

West Hampstead’s Decca studios famously turned down The Beatles in 1962, but David had a little more luck and recorded his first album – simply called ‘David Bowie’ (the name he’d officially adopted in 1965) – at the studio between late 1966 and early 1967. He also cut ‘The Laughing Gnome’ here… but considering the awesomeness that was to follow, I think we can forgive him for that. 


Pollock's Toy MuseumRobert Lordan


Pollock’s Toy Museum, Scala Street, W1T

In the late 1960s, David lodged at 39 Manchester Street with his manager Ken Pitt. During this time he discovered Pollock’s Toy Museum which, being chockfull of clowns, Victorian prints and other curious knick-knacks, provided fertile inspiration for his creative mind. David was also fond of Manchester Square’s eclectic Wallace Collection.


St Anne's Court, home to the former Trident StudiosRobert Lordan


Trident Studios, St Anne’s Court, W1F

It was at this studio in a tiny corner of Soho that the David Bowie we came to know and love truly morphed into his own, with ‘Space Oddity’, ‘Hunky Dory’ and the ‘Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars’ all being recorded here. 


Ziggy's Heddon StreetRobert Lordan


Heddon Street, W1B

Arguably, this is David Bowie’s definitive London landmark. It was here, decked out in a snazzy jumpsuit on a damp January evening in 1972, that he posed for the cover of his landmark album, ‘The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars’. The site is now commemorated by a plaque and in the hours following the sudden news of David’s death, Heddon Street became a poignant shrine for fans. 

The former BBC Television CentreRobert Lordan

 BBC Television Centre, Wood Lane, W12

David Bowie appeared countless times at this now sadly defunct stalwart. His most famous performance recorded at Television Centre? It’s gotta be ‘Starman’, in which David slings his arm camply around fellow bandmate, Mick Ronson; a groundbreaking gesture in 1972. 


Hammersmith ApolloRobert Lordan

 Hammersmith Apollo, W6

Known as Hammersmith Odeon back in the day, it was here on July 3 1973 that David Bowie announced he was retiring his Ziggy Stardust alter-ego (though fans thought he was quitting music completely). As we now know, of course, David’s imagination and creative flair were way too hyper to stay still for long.


Berlin Wall slab

Robert Lordan


Berlin Wall slab, Imperial War Museum, SE1

‘I can remember… standing by the wall...’ When David Bowie recorded his sublime ‘Heroes’ album in 1977, he did so in West Berlin’s Hansa studios; a facility slap-bang in the shadow of the Berlin Wall. This chunk plonked outside the Imperial War Museum gives Londoners some sense of the wall’s menace. And the ‘Change your life’ slogan? Bowie would've approved.


The former Blitz ClubRobert Lordan


The Blitz Club (now the Red Rooms adult club), Great Queen Street, WC2B

In the early 1980s the Blitz Club was the epicentre for the New Romantics – a flamboyant movement influenced by Bowie himself. One night in 1980, the great man rolled up in person in search of the Blitz’s hippest kids. He needed them for a video he was putting together: the iconic ‘Ashes to Ashes’.


The V&ARobert Lordan

 The Victoria & Albert Museum, SW7


In 2013 curators at the V&A were granted unprecedented access to David’s vast, personal archive. The result: ’David Bowie is’, a fascinating exhibition showcasing over 300 objects from his long and varied career, topped off with a mighty, specially commissioned neon Ziggy Stardust lightning bolt (created by the late, great Chris Bracey). The exhibition broke records, becoming the museum’s fastest ever seller. If you missed it, you missed out big time. Here’s hoping a similar celebration appears in the near future.


Brixton's Bowie muralRobert Lordan


Bowie mural in Brixton, SW9

Located on the side of Morleys department store, just across from Brixton tube station, this bold mural featuring David as Ziggy Stardust was created by Aussie street artist James Cochran in June 2013. Like Heddon Street, this image has now become a focal point for fans to come together and remember one of Brixton’s most incredible sons.

And finally... 

David Bowie tribute displayed at the Ritzy Cinema, BrixtonRobert Lordan


The Ritzy Cinema, SW2

Amen to that.

RIP, David.

See pictures of fans paying tribute to David Bowie at the Brixton mural

Or read Londoners’ favourite David Bowie stories




billy p

Great tribute what you did here in such a short time Robert. Much appreciated by me. 

It is, as you rightly called it, 'a round-up of some of the London sites connected to the star', so why are some people winging that you haven't named other places outside of London? Maybe you should have flown over to Berlin and his home in New York for some photos as well. Nice of you to be so polite in answering the criticisms. 

Still can't accept that Bowie's gone, or Mick Ronson for that matter.

Ken L

Thank you for sharing in such a short time, everyone was shocked and I was in the office at the time. I'm planning to London and Berlin in a search of some paces of Bowie, this article is quite useful for me! Fan from Taiwan.

Ken Lung

Robert L

@Ken L Thank you for the kind words, Ken. Hope you have a great trip :-)

Sonia H

Our little girl is in Great Ormond Street hospital and I am going to try and get out with her and visit some of these. Thanks for posting this x

Robert L

@Sonia H You're most welcome, Sonia. Thank you so much for the comment and I hope your daughter gets well soon xx

Amanda B

Thank you so much for putting this together. My friend and I visited most of these sites yesterday inspired by your thoughtful article. 

Andy A

Cheers for this. Great stuff. I am in London next week and will take the time to visit at least a few of these spots. Might help it start to sink in...

Robert L

@Andy A Many thanks, Andy. I wish you well in seeking out these links with the great man. 

Alfie M

love this, thanks for taking the time to do it Robert.

Stephen V

The Three Tuns pub in Beckenham cannot be dismissed simply because it is "further afield". Beckenham played a very significant role in Bowie's life and the Three Tuns was part of an arts space that spawned David Bowie, Cockney Rebel and Sparks. Robert, just man up and apologise for this mishap.

Robert L

I would never dream of dismissing any location associated with David Bowie, Stephen and when I say further afield, I simply mean places beyond the area which most would regard as central London. Time was extremely short when I put this piece together; dashing around to take photographs of sites in Brixton, Soho, Covent Garden, Fitzrovia, South Kensington, Shepherds Bush and West Hampstead within a few hours was tough enough and the only reason Beckenham does not appear is purely down to reasons of practicality.

Jonathan P

Bowie spent a considerable amount of time and ordinary existence in Beckenham living in at least two addresses = the former Heddon Hall and at Foxberry Road, making his first appearance (live) in the (then) Three Tuns pub now a Zizzi Restaurant, have a bit less N bias please! Song for a Free Festival is based on both the factual and fictional bandstand in the Beckenham Park where an actual free concert was mounted.

Robert L

@Mark B @Jonathan P Whilst I truly appreciate commentators pointing out other David Bowie locations further afield, please understand that I created this piece within a matter of hours. When I heard the sad news that David had died, I felt compelled to skip work and head into the city on foot, camera in hand in order to capture as many locations as was physically possible; a flying tribute to the man I adored. The only picture not taken that day was the one of the Berlin Wall section.

London, like Bowie’s career and legacy, is sprawling and huge and for me to cover every possible corner in such a short space of time was simply impossible. No bias or oversight was intended, just  a burning desire to share a handful of sites associated with the great man who left us so suddenly. There are of course many more places out there and if this little piece encourages fellow fans to find and embrace them, well that’d make me a very happy Kook indeed.

Michael L

A fascinating insight into David Bowie and his connection with London. Well done Robert you deserve a pat on the back for putting together this wonderful and informative blog.

Mark B

Hey there, you left out quite an important place where in fact David Bowie created not only the Ziggy Stardust persona but also where they began work on the 'Spiders from Mars' Album - Underhill Studios - Greenwich -