Following in the footsteps of David Bowie in London

Who I am
Emilie Filou

Author and references

David Jones (aka David Bowie) has undoubtedly marked the history of pop and fashion. This chameleon artist, a quiet young man in his early days, dandy and elegant, will play on cross-dressing in the late 1960s. His most famous character for the general public, Ziggy Stardust, will be like an avatar of the rock star with glitter.

This virtuoso of the metamorphosis will play many fictional characters, that of Halloween Jack, a kind of pirate heralding punk or even Thin White Duke probably the closest to what he saw then, towards the end of the 1970s, undermined by heavy use of cocaine.

British pop legend David Bowie is also an androgynous glam rock icon who during his lifetime has lived all over the world, renting and owning property in New York, Los Angeles, Lausanne, Sydney, Mosquito Island and London. It is in the English capital that I will take you in his footsteps to discover the different places where he has lived, studied, played and recorded his hits.


January 8, 1947: Birth of David Robert Jones

It was in the district of Brixton at 40 Stansfield Road that David Robert Jones was born on January 8, 1947. He is the second child of Haywood John Jones, employed in charities, and Margaret Burns, usher in the cinema. He has a half-brother, Terry, his senior by ten years, who will be of paramount importance in his musical education.

When David was six, the family sold their house, moving to the south London suburbs of Bromley.

Address : 40 Stansfield Road, Ferndale, London SW9 9RY


1951 - 1953: Little David at Stockwell Elementary School


Just around the corner from Stansfield Road is Stockwell Primary School where young David attended school in 1951 and where he gained a reputation as a hothead.


Address : Stockwell Road, Ferndale, London SW9 9TG


1953: The Jones family leaves London


After living in the district of Brixton for six years, the Jones family moved in January 1953 15km south of London to Bromley. Young David lived there until the age of 16.

Address : 106 Canon Road, Bromley BR1 2SP


 1954: The Jones family moves to Clarence Road


Address : 23 Clarence Road, Bromley , BR1 2DH


1953 - 1955: Raglan School


Address : Raglan Road, Bromley BR2 9NL


1955 : Burnt Ash Junior School


Address : Rangefield Road, Bromley BR1 4QX


June 1955: The Jones family moves to 4 Plaistow Grove


Address : 4 Plaistow Grove, Bromley BR1 3PB


1958 - 1963: Bromley Technical High School


After passing his eleven-plus, David Jones entered Bromley Technical High School (now called Ravens Wood) where he studied art, music and design.

In 1962 because of a girl, David quarrels with his friend George Underwood who punches him in the left eye. Despite several operations and four months of hospitalization, the doctors were unable to completely cure the young boy, who retained a perpetually dilated pupil. This is the origin of his wall eyes.

Address : Oakley Road, Bromley BR2 8HP


1960: Le Gioconda Café: meeting place

Dedicated to musical instrument shops, Denmark Street has been the heart of the music industry: studios, publishers, clubs… At number 9 was the Gioconda, a cafe that Bowie and Elton John used to frequent to meet other people in the music industry. It is also in this bar that Bowie is auditioned, in the spring of 65, to become the singer of the Lower Third.

Today the Gioconda no longer exists and the Flat Iron restaurant occupies the premises.

Address : 9 Denmark Street, West End, London WC2H 8LS


June 1962: Bowie plays in the caves of Chislehurst


In the 1960s, many rock groups such as the Pink Floyd, Jimi Hendrix and the Rolling Stones performed in the Chislehurst Caves located in South East London.
David Bowie performed in these caves four times between June 1962 and March 1966 with his very first rock 'n' roll group, The Konrads, founded in 1962 by the future star.

Today the caves are a tourist attraction where guided tours are offered daily without reservation.

Address : Caveside Cl, Old Hill, Chislehurst BR7 5NL

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August 30, 1963: Recording of "I Never Dreamed" 


On August 30, 1963, the Konrads went for the first time to the Decca studios where they recorded the song I Never Dreamed. This is the first recording of 16-year-old Bowie and singer of the group. The track, a classic rock song, did not meet with the expected success and Bowie left the group shortly after.

The label, which no longer exists, is now used as a rehearsal space for the English National Opera.

Address : 165 Broadhurst Gardens, West Hampstead, London


1963: The Konrads play at the Bromley Court Hotel


The Bromley Court Hotel has hosted artists like Pink Floyd and Jimi Hendrix, but among the rock giants of the 1960s, a 15-year-old Bowie performed with The Konrads in 1963.

Today this four-star hotel pays homage to these famous guests by naming rooms “Jimi Hendrix” and “David Bowie”.


Address : Bromley Hill, Bromley BR1 4JD

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May 1964 : Concert à Camden


Frustrated by the lack of ambition of the Konrads, David joined another group, the King Bees, who played on May 21, 1964 at the Roundhouse, a concert hall in the Camden district, listed as a historic monument.

Address : Chalk Farm Road, Camden Town, London NW1 8EH


1965: Bowie a regular at the Roebuck pub


The Roebuck is a pub with an important musical history. Indeed, it is in the room upstairs of the pub that Bowie rehearses and that his manager Ralph Horton suggests to him to change his name in order to avoid being confused with Davy Jones, singer of the group of Monkees. Its stage name is Bowie, in reference to a hero of American history, Jim Bowie, who died in 1836 during the siege of Fort Alamo, and who gave his name to a model of a knife.

Today the Roebuck is a renowned The Court pub.

Address : 108 Tottenham Court Road, Fitzrovia, London W1T 5AB


October 8, 1965: David Bowie plays at the Marquee Club!

The Marquee is one of the most famous London clubs in the heart of Soho where one succeeded until the end of the 80s Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Ten Years After, the Clash, the Who, the Sex Pistols, Iron Maiden… and David Bowie! The latter occurs very early in the Marquee, in formations as little known as they are ephemeral.

But on October 8, 1965, a detail distinguishes his performance from previous ones: it is the first time that the singer, accompanied by the Lower Third, has performed under the name of David Bowie.


Address : 90 Wardour Street, Soho, London W1F 0TH


January 14, 1966: David Bowie's first concert


It was on the 1st floor of the Victoria pub that David, then a member of the blues trio Lower Third, released the single 'Can't Help Thinking About Me'. Unfortunately the song was unsuccessful and David left The Lower Third.

Address : 10A Strathearn Pl, Tyburnia, London W2 2NH


1967 - 1970: The Ship a pub frequented by the rock star


The Ship is an Edwardian pub frequented by David Bowie where he gave interviews from 1967 to 1970 and where he announced to the media that he was giving up music to become a Buddhist monk after the commercial flop of the Space Oddity album.

It was also in this pub that he founded a folk club, the Arts Club.

Address : 116 Wardour Street, Soho, London W1F 0TT


June 1967: Bowie moves to the Marylebone neighborhood

In June 1967, when his musical career took off, he stayed at 39 Manchester Street in the Marylebone district with his manager Ken Pitt.


Address : 39 Manchester Street, Marylebone, London W1U 7LJ


1968: David Bowie gets into a with Hermione Farthingale


In 1968, then 21-year-old David Bowie lived with his 19-year-old dancer Hermione Farthingale girlfriend in South Kensington at 22 Clareville Grove. They met in January 1968 during the shooting of a BBC TV movie (The Pistol Shot) where both made an appearance.
Hermione Farthingale left him in 1969 and went to Scandinavia. Bowie will be affected by this breakup.


Address : 22 Clareville Grove, Kensington, London SW7 5AS


April 1969: David Bowie moves in with Mary Finnigan

In 1969, Mary Finnigan lived alone with her two children in an apartment in Beckenham in South London. One day in April 1969, she heard David Bowie, then 22, singing one of her songs in a nearby house. She invites him to have tea at her place and falls under the spell of the young artist who is 15 years younger than her. She offers to host her for free and Bowie will live with her for six months and be her lover.
Their comes to an abrupt end when Mary finds out that David is having a with Angie Barnett.


Address : 24 Foxgrove Road, Beckenham, BR3 5BY


October 1969: Haddon Hall a place of community life

From 1969 to 1973, Bowie rented the apartment on the ground floor of Haddon Hall, a late 42th century Edwardian mansion, located at XNUMX Southend Road - now Shannon Way - in the Beckenham district for about XNUMX miles south of central London.

Haddon Hall is the residence of the singer and the American Mary Angela Barnett, known as "Angie" whom he will marry on March 19, 1970, but it is also the place of a community life with musicians. The whole troop then tries to live according to the hippie community ideal.

It is in this atypical place that Bowie composes the revolutionary album Ziggy Stardust and the album Spiders from Mars. The house with the silver-painted ceilings had been rumored to have been a "place of gruesome and copious experimental nights involving buses full of groupies and clubbers."

Bowie left home in 1972 to move to Maida Vale, west London.

The house was destroyed in the early 1980s to make way for small buildings of ocher and red brick.


Address : 42 Southend Road, Beckenham BR3 1UE


1969: Creation of Beckenham Arts Lab

Bowie spent a lot of time at The Three Tuns pub with fellow artists and musicians to form the Beckenham Arts Lab in 1969, a movement that culminated in a free festival.

In 2001, a plaque was put up in remembrance of the days when the star performed at the pub, which has since closed and turned into a Zizzi restaurant, but inside is a mural painted by fan-worshiping Sara Captain.

Not only was the pub a favorite haunt for the arts lab, but it was also here that the enigmatic musician first proposed the character of Ziggy Stardust.


Address :  157 High Street, New Beckenham, Beckenham BR3 1AE


March 1971: Rehearsals at Underhill Studios


It is at Underhill Studios, a small independent studio of Greenwich, that Bowie began working in 1971 on the album that would propel him to stardom - The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and The Spiders from Mars. The album and Ziggy Stardust as a character became his most important work.

This building is now Gee-Pharm, a pharmacy on the corner of Blackheath Hill and South Street.


Address : 1 Blackheath Hill, Greenwich, London SE10 8DE


November 1971: Recording in Trident studios


Built in 1967 in the Soho district, it was in these studios that David Bowie recorded in November 1971 his fifth album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars.

Other stars have also recorded in this gem of musical history such as The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Queen and Elton John.

Today, renamed “Trident Sound Studios”, they no longer occupy the 5 floors of the building, only the ground floor and the basement are still studios, mainly for mastering.


Address : 17 St Anne's Ct, Soho, London W1F 0BQ


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January 1972: Photo shoot for the Ziggy Stardust album


The photos for the Ziggy Stardust album cover were taken one night in January 1972 in Heddon Street, an alley parallel to Regent Street. While Bowie has the flu, his photographer Brian Ward convinces him to take pictures. The cover photo is in front of the building where the photographer's studio is located and the one on the other side in a phone booth next door.

Back in 1972, Heddon Street was a shabby spot where only garbage cans were left standing all night. Today, it is a charming pedestrian alley where The Living Room still stands, the restaurant that appears in the background of the disc.

Since 2012, a plaque commemorates the photoshoot and the phone booth, although since changed, has remained on the same location as the original one.


Address : 23 Heddon Street, Mayfair, London W1B 4BQ


July 6, 1972: Bowie appears in the BBC's Top of the Pops television series


As part of the very popular Top of the Pops music show, broadcast by the BBC, Bowie performs “Starman”, one of the most beautiful songs ever written. Dressed in a masculine dress, he sports an eccentric and androgynous look that marks the spirits.

His performance also makes a strong impression, especially when he puts his arm around Mick Ronson's shoulders in an ambiguous gesture before glancing at the camera and pointing his finger in the direction of those on the other side of the house. screen, who look at him, amazed. "I had to call someone, so I chose you," he then sings.

That evening, Bowie invests the societal field and becomes an icon as much for the young generation as for many artists and creators.

Today the BBC recording studios no longer exist and were transformed in 2001 into a 4-star hotel under the name of K West. He has an unparalleled musical heritage where legends like David Bowie, Bob Marley, Freddy Mercury, Jimi Hendrix and Amy Winehouse, sang in this place.

Address : Richmond Way, Hammersmith, London W14 0AX

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May 1973: David Bowie moves to Maida Vale

Forced to leave Beckenham by fans making avid pilgrimages to her front door, the pop star moves into Bond actress Diana Rigg's apartment in Vale Court, with his wife, Angie, and their son for six months, from May to October 1973.


Address : Vale court, Hall Road, Maida Vale, London W91RT


July 3, 1973: Bowie's announcement at the Hammersmith Odeon


Against all expectations, David Bowie announces on July 3, 1973 at the end of his concert: "it is not only the last concert of the tour, but it is also the very last that we will do" in the guise of Ziggy Stardust.


Address : 5 Queen Caroline Street, Hammersmith, London W6 9QH


October 1973: Bowie moves to Chelsea with his family


From October 1973 to April 1974, the singer moved with his wife Angela and their son in the very chic Chelsea district and more precisely in Oakley Street, not far from Mick Jagger's house.


Address : 89 Oakley Street, Chelsea, London SW3 5NP


1984: Bowie records his single Blue Jean at the Wag Club


The Wag is a nightclub in the heart of Soho where celebrities from around the world meet like George Michael, Mick Jagger, Prince or even Karl Lagerfeld and Jean Paul Gaultier.

A few days after the shooting of Jazzin For Blue Jean, the clip of which lasts 20 minutes, British director Julien Temple shoots a second, shorter and less elaborate video for Blue Jean at the Wag Club for a unique screening at the MTV Awards, which takes place on the 14th. September 1984 at Radio City Music Hall in New York.

The Wag Club closed on May 5, 2001 and was shortly replaced by a pub from the Irish chain O'Neill.

Address : 33-37 Wardour St, West End, London W1D 6PU

2008 - 2011: His last London home in Kensington


Bowie moved to the United States in 1974, first in New York, then in Los Angeles. Fleeing the stale atmosphere of Los Angeles, Bowie emigrated to Switzerland in 1976. His interest in the German music scene and his desire to be free from drugs prompted him to move again to West Berlin before the end of the year. .

The pop star spends years designing and creating a home in Gilston Road, London, with designer Jonathan Reed. He briefly lived in this luxurious property because he was disturbed by the paparazzi.

In 2005, he sold his 4-story house for £ 7,2million.

Address : 43 Gilston Road, Kensington, London SW10 9SJ


2009: Creation of the Bowie Pound!


The Brixton Pound is a local London currency created in September 2009 with the aim of boosting and supporting the local economy. The Brixton pound is exactly the same in value as a British pound issued by the Bank of England, but it can only be used in neighborhood stores that display signs displaying the B £ symbol, standing for Brixton Pound.

250 businesses in the Brixton district accept this currency, which can be purchased at the Brixton Pound Cafe (77 Atlantic Road) or at the vending machine in Market Row.

The £ 10 Bowie bill launched in 2011 and rose to five times its value in 2016 when Bowie died.

A £ 10 Bowie Pound ticket can be purchased from: Brixton Pound.



2013 : Mémorial David Bowie


This magnificent work of the Australian artist James Cochran known under the pseudonym of "Jimmy. C ”, created in June 2013, represents David Bowie as Ziggy Stardust, a fictional character conceived and performed by the singer in the early 1970s.

This fresco, which is one of the finest works of street art in the British capital, is located just opposite Brixton underground station and not far from the artist's former home.

A place of meditation and pilgrimage for fans, the work is now protected by a plexiglass to prevent deterioration.


Address : 464 Brixton Road, Brixton, London SW9 8EA

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March 25, 2018: Inauguration of a statue in tribute to David Bowie


It was in Aylesbury, a small town north-west of London, that the singer made his first concert in the guise of Ziggy Stardust.

By raising 100 pounds (a little over 000 euros) via a crowdfunding campaign, David Stopps, a big Bowie fan (and incidentally organizer of concerts in Aylesbury) was able to order this unique bronze piece, called Earthly Messenger (“Messager de la Terre” in French), and featuring the Thin White Duke under several of his alter egos - Ziggy Stardust appearing in the foreground.

Speakers mounted above the full-size room play a Bowie song every hour, which would make it the world's first “augmented audio” statue.

Address : 22 Market Square, Aylesbury HP20 1TR


September 20, 2018: A David Bowie cocktail bar


Located in London's West End, a stone's throw from Piccadilly Circus, the bar called "Ziggy" opened its doors on September 20, 2018 at the Café Royal hotel. A place very linked to the history of the pop star, since on July 3, 1973, he organized a party to say goodbye to his character, after having given his last concert at the Hammersmith Odeon. in the guise of Ziggy Stardust. The whole of London was also present: Lou Reed, Mick Jagger, Paul McCartney or Barbra Streisand.

The bar is decorated with photographs of Mick Rock, Bowie's longtime friend, who immortalized this famous evening, and a jukebox entirely dedicated to Bowie's discography.

The cocktails are inspired by the album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars published in 1972. On the menu, we will notably find Tigers on Vaseline, a revisited Piña Colada, or even Darkness and Disgrace, an Espresso Martini revisited with rum.

Address : 10 Air Street, Soho, London W1B 4DY

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December 2018: Zabou pays tribute to Bowie


French street artist Zabou painted Bowie's portrait near Broadway Market in east London. The artwork depicts Bowie with his famous Ziggy Stardust makeup on a red and blue background.

Address : 2 Ada Street, Hackney, London E8 4QU


Hard Rock Cafe and its Rock n 'Roll decoration

London has three Hard Rock Cafe restaurants, an American restaurant chain known for their burgers and cult items that once belonged to rock stars. With more than 81 pieces, the chain has the largest collection in the world of objects around rock n'roll.

Le Hard Rock Cafe London located in the upscale Mayfair district, stands out with its The Vault museum located in the basement of the chain's souvenir store.


Tucked away in the vaults of the old Coutts Bank, The Vault is a free museum displaying the personal effects of music stars. Among the cult objects are the guitars of Jimi Hendrix and Bob Dylan, an antique chair owned by Freddie Mercury as well as David Bowie's Fender acoustic guitar.

Guided tours take place every 20 minutes at the Hard Rock Cafe Shop.



Le Hard Rock Cafe by Piccadilly Circus, exhibits David Bowie's outfit worn for his last performance as Ziggy Stardust, at the Marquee Club in London in 1973.


In addition, if you wish to eat at the Hard Rock Cafe restaurant, you can benefit from an attractive rate by booking on GetYourGuide which offers a menu at 28,40 € (consisting of 2 or 3 courses with a soft drink) and giving priority entry to the restaurant.

Addresses of Hard Rock Cafe :
Hard Rock Cafe London :  150 Old Park Lane, Mayfair, London W1K 1QZ
Hard Rock Cafe Oxford Street : Great Cumberland Place, Marble Arch, London, GB W1H7DL
Hard Rock Cafe Piccadilly Circus : 225-229 Piccadilly, London W1J 9HR


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Map: In the footsteps of David Bowie in London


Some reading tips

Haddon Hall: When David Invented Bowie, by Néjib (comic strip at Gallimard)
This comic tells the story of David Bowie who settles with wife and friends in an old house called "Haddon Hall". The whole troop then tries to live according to the hippie community ideal.

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David Bowie is

, by Victoria Brookes
A superb album published on the occasion of the retrospective exhibition at the Philarmonie de Paris which through its pages gives access to an incredible collection of photos, in particular many objects (notes, drafts, costumes, etc.) among the 75 stored since decades by the David Bowie Archive.

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Backstage: my life with David Bowie

, by Angela Bowie
The author, ex-wife of David Bowie, tells the behind the scenes of the career of the star.

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David Bowie, by Jérôme Soligny
Musician and journalist for Rock & Folk magazine, Jérôme Soligny is one of the greatest specialists in the life of David Bowie. Organized by following a chronology album by album, the book gives pride of place to the testimonies of the multiple speakers on each album and each tour of the hero.

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David Bowie died at the age of 69 from liver cancer on January 10, 2016 in his New York apartment, two days after the release of the twenty-sixth and final studio album Blackstar. According to his wish, he was cremated in the greatest secrecy and his ashes were scattered in Bali a few days later.

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