Bandstand Restoration Project

   

Since its opening in 1891 by Tom Thornton, the owner and editor of the Beckenham Journal, the bandstand has been part of the rich and varied history of this popular park. The structure was used by Beckenham’s Harold Bride, the junior wireless officer on the ocean liner RMS Titanic, to address cheering crowds in the park and has witnessed civic and royal ceremonies, balloon flights and flower shows which rivalled Chelsea in popularity.


A concert marking the successful restoration of the much-loved Grade II listed bandstand in Croydon Road Recreation Ground has taken place.


The restored bandstand - 17th May 2024
(click to enlarge)

The 245k improvement project for the Grade II listed Edwardian bandstand in Beckenham, where David Bowie famously performed, saw the refurbishing all areas of the bandstand, including its intricate ironwork and perimeter fencing. The Friends of Croydon Road Recreation Ground, Heritage of London Trust, Bowie fans and local residents were present when the Mayor of Bromley, Councillor Dr David Jefferys, formally opened the bandstand on Friday 17th May 2024.

Chris Phillips, Chairman of the Friends of Croydon Road Recreation Ground, said: “We have finally done it! It has truly been a collaborative journey, with thanks to so many, including Friends who supported this in years gone by. There is always much to do in a park setting and I warmly encourage local people to join our group, which will help us make even more progress, with support in all its forms most welcome.”

The Mayor of Bromley, Councillor Dr David Jefferys commented: “We need to pay tribute to an amazing band of supporters, including the performers at the concert. The successful completion of the renewal work for the bandstand has been a long-term vision of so many, including crucially the Friends of Croydon Road Recreation Ground and of course Bowie’s Beckenham Oddity and other Bowie fans who supported with fundraising concerts. Thank you to our grant funders, including to the Heritage of London Trust for their support and grant funding. Thank you so much as well to all those who purchased a brick to support this work and to those who supported the many fundraising events. Finally, thank you to our contractors, including AF Starr, Purcell and Idverde.”


Beckenham Concert Band opened the restored bandstand
(The stage was already setup for some other groups to appear afterwards)

Dr Nicola Stacey, Director, Heritage of London Trust commented: “We are so delighted that this piece of London’s heritage has been restored for future generations to enjoy. Like many historic buildings across the city, this has wonderful stories associated with it and it has brought pleasure to Londoners for decades. It is fantastic to have had such community support and we’ve been delighted to have been able to help. We would like to extend our own thanks to our supporters Knight Frank who made our grant possible.”

As part of the work, the crown on the bandstand was repaired, with gilding applied, and new pieces being carefully welded to the original crown to repair the damage caused by over 100 years of wear. Heritage of London Trust are particularly thanked for their additional grant funding in support of this, which allowed for the crown – corona – to be gilded, with the work being carried out by specialists AF Starr Limited.

The original Edwardian colour scheme of dark brown and buff was used for the restoration. Landscaping improvements include a brick pathway of personalised bricks, which supporters purchased as part of the fundraising initiative. Rainwater dispersal materials have been added to the roof, with upgraded lighting, which can be used for performances also part of the works, as well as new bandstand signage. Local young people from the Proud Places programme came on site to visit the project underway.

Built by McCallum and Hope Ltd of Glasgow, the bandstand is believed to be installed in 1905 and is a rare example of intricate iron work, notable for the quality of its design, with the execution of its pattern work and casting believed to be the only remaining example in Britain. It holds a historic association with local resident David Bowie, who played at the bandstand in the Summer Growth Festival in 1969. The bandstand was listed in 2019, on the advice of Historic England.

Funding for the project has been secured from a variety of sources including over 100k of community fundraising, 80,000 from the London Borough of Bromley and over 12,000 from Heritage of London Trust. Plans were developed in conjunction with Purcell Architecture Limited, the appointed conservation consultant.


February 2024 Reveal


(click image to enlarge)
February 10th 2024: The Bandstand has now been uncovered!


January 2024 update
(click image to read the full report [pdf])


August 2023 Update
(click image to read the full report [pdf])


Personalised Bandstand Brick Inscriptions

that will be installed on the circular path around the bandstand

London Borough of Bromley have now halted sales of bricks until after the restoration works have completed.

You will still be able to purchase tickets for the launch party and/or donate to the project whilst the works are underway, and further purchases of bricks will be possible once the works have been completed.

Visit https://www.bromley.gov.uk/bowiebandstand for more information.


Croydon Road Recreation Ground bandstand restoration begins

Restoration works on the much loved and historic Croydon Road Recreation Ground Bandstand is getting underway.

The 220k project includes refurbishing all areas of the bandstand, including its intricate ironwork and perimeter fencing, and will restore the original colour scheme of dark brown and buff. The plans also include landscaping improvements, a brick pathway of personalised bricks, rainwater dispersal materials added to the roof, new bandstand signage, and upgraded lighting that can be used for performances.

Restoration specialists A.F.Starr Limited have been awarded the contract to restore the Grade II listed Edwardian bandstand, where David Bowie famously performed, with the news also following recent planning approval and listed building consent at the council's Plans Sub-Committee No.4.

In conjunction with this, the Friends of Croydon Road Recreation Ground has been awarded funds from the Platinum Jubilee Parks Fund to replace outdated signage for the park. The signage will look to improve accessibility and identify multiple recreational activities on offer such as mini tennis, basketball and bowling. These signs will also pinpoint park users to other forms of leisure activities, such as the bowls club, quieter points of gathering, as well as looking to advertise other recreational activities beneficial for health (e.g. walking trails), including special events that the Bandstand will host once works are complete.

It is envisaged that the works will commence at the beginning of July 2023 and be completed this winter. The bandstand will remain closed whilst these works are undertaken.

Chris Phillips, Chairman of the Friends of Croydon Road Recreation Ground says "After our ten-year campaign to raise awareness of the significance of this unique Grade II listed bandstand, I am absolutely delighted with the news. I am grateful to the wide range of people who have contributed time and money to help fundraise for the project, and to idverde and Bromley council. We still have other plans to improve our park and would be delighted to hear from local residents who may want to join our Friends group in support as well."

In conjunction with this, the Friends of Croydon Road Recreation Ground has been awarded funds from the Platinum Jubilee Parks Fund to replace outdated signage for the park. The signage will look to improve accessibility and identify multiple recreational activities on offer such as mini tennis, basketball and bowling. These signs will also pinpoint park users to other forms of leisure activities, such as the bowls club, quieter points of gathering, as well as looking to advertise other recreational activities beneficial for health (e.g. walking trails), including special events that the Bandstand will host once works are complete.

More details can be found on The London Borough of Bromley's website


Bowie Bandstand, Croydon Road Recreation Ground
Indicative timetable
December 2022

Bromley Council has now issued the following timetable,
which should allow works to finish before Bowie’s Beckenham Oddity
planned for mid-August 2023.


Previous Project Progress....
(in reverse order)


Bowie Bandstand Planning Application - August 2022

(The above image may be viewed in more detail as part of PDF document 'PROPOSED NORTH-WEST & SOUTH-EAST ELEVATION PLANS' within the planning application documentation via the Planning Permission link below)

We are pleased to announce that the proposals for restoration were granted Planning approval and Listed building consent at the Council’s Plans Sub-Committee No. 4 on 24th November 2022.

The planning documents may be viewed on the London Borough of Bromley's planning portal via the links below:

London Borough of Bromley Bandstand News:

https://www.bromley.gov.uk/news/article/372/planning-application-for-restoration-work-to-the-bandstand-at-croydon-road-recreation-ground

Planning Permission:

https://searchapplications.bromley.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?keyVal=RFKMBNBTLO100&activeTab=summary

Listed Building Consent:

https://searchapplications.bromley.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?keyVal=RFKMBOBTLO200&activeTab=summary


Council discuss Bowie Bandstand restoration report
In March 2022


(See Architectural Proposal link below to view the document)

The London Borough of Bromley Environment and Community Services Policy Development and Scrutiny Committee will be discussing the Bowie Bandstand Restoration Architectural Proposals report during a meeting which will take place on the 21st March 2022 at 7.00pm at Bromley Civic Centre. Anyone can attend.

After passing through this committee it will then go to the Executive Committee on the 31st March 2022 at 7.00pm at Bromley Civic Centre.

The links below provide the information being discussed:

Restoration Committee Report

Bandstand Architectural Proposal - Draft


Initial plans for the restored bandstand - 2016

Bandstand plan (pdf)

Bandstand elevation and sections (pdf)


Bowie Bandstand restoration appeal

Efforts to restore the historic bandstand where David Bowie performed at the Beckenham Arts Lab Growth Summer Festival in 1969 are being redoubled following the desperate news of his passing in January. The Bowie Bandstand, once restored, is planned to not only become a permanent and fitting tribute to a superstar musician admired and missed by millions, but hopefully a site where future legends might also one day cut their teeth as well.

The Council is continuing to work closely with the magnificent Friends of Croydon Road Recreation Ground and other local partners to raise the funds still needed, which has already been backed by many supporters. You can help restore the bandstand by making a cash donation towards the Bowie Bandstand restoration project. Please visit our donation page to make your contribution via the London Borough of Bromley. Donors will have the opportunity to leave a memorial message and print a certificate to mark their gift.


Initial Survey Report - 2013

The findings of the initial survey carried out in September 2013 can be viewed here


Sample pictures from the survey report


Peter Hopkins from Beckenham submitted a project in 2019 featuring the Bowie Bandstand
authored during his MSc course on Building Conservation

MSc. Building Conservation
Unit BC4: Conservation of Metals
Part 1 (Conservation of Metalwork)
Assignment title: A Report of 19th century iron structure


*SAVE THE BOWIE BANDSTAND & LEAVE A TRIBUTE MESSAGE*

The Beckenham Bandstand is now indelibly linked with David Bowie. He performed on it at the free festival, wrote a song about that festival which ended up on his Space Oddity album, and wrote Life on Mars? on the steps of this bandstand. However, the bandstand has unfortunately fallen into disrepair and now requires funds for restoration.

Following David’s incredibly sad passing, the bandstand is now a focal point for tributes. As David had always supported emerging artists, We believe that getting this bandstand repaired and ensuring its long term survival would be a suitable tribute. It would provide a platform for future generations of musicians to perform on and in doing so would allow audiences to continue to enjoy live music in the park. It’s also a unique Victorian bandstand, now the only one of its kind, so was already worthy of saving irrespective of the amazing cultural and musical legacy it carries.

The Friends of Croydon Road Recreation Ground are working in partnership with Bromley Council to fundraise for the bandstand restoration. You can support the restoration campaign by:

  • Making a direct donation on the London Borough of Bromley website to the bandstand restoration fund: www.bromley.gov.uk/bowiebandstand
    For donations of ?15 or over, Zizzi’s have kindly offered to give donors 30 per cent off main meals on Mondays to Thursdays in their Beckenham branch. To claim this offer, supporters need to take a copy of the automated receipt they receive when making a donation.

  • Buying a personalised Bandstand Brick that will be installed on the circular path around the bandstand : www.bromley.gov.uk/bowiebandstand

Each brick will contain a maximum of 48 characters. Please be aware that the characters will be divided into three lines of maximum 16 characters each including spaces. You will be free to write your own message for the brick, however, you will only have 48 characters in total and if you wanted to put your name on the brick this would be included within the word count.

Once sufficient funds have been secured for the restoration project, we will contact you regarding details of your preferred personalised inscription.

Please also let us know if you would like to become a Friend of the park and join us with our on-going efforts to improve this local greenspace.

If enough people donate, even just ?1 each, we will hit our target! All donations are eligible to leave a tribute message which will be viewable when the tribute page is up.

Once the Bowie Bandstand is repaired there will be a celebratory opening party & surely many future festivals to look forward to. History will recall that it was Bowie’s fans both near and far who generously donated to get this unique Victorian bandstand restored to its former glory.

Thank you.


A comprehensive David Bowie Trivia book, compiled for charity and presented in the form of 1500 questions, offering even the most obsessive of fans the opportunity to test themselves on all things Bowie. The questions are presented in a chronological order, decade by decade, thereby giving the reader a timeline, and hopefully at least some small insight into what a certain David Robert Jones did with his life. It is hoped that the book proves to be both enjoyable to work through, and informative at the same time. Proceeds donated to the 'Bowie Bandstand Restoration Appeal' in Beckenham and to 'Macmillan Cancer Support'.

Buy from Amazon and support our appeal


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The Friends of Croydon Road Recreation Ground 2008 -