10 sites of (historic) musical significance in London – 4. Marc Bolan’s Rock Shrine… 

Located by the side of a road in Barnes is a memorial to the former singer and guitarist of glam-rock band T.Rex, Marc Bolan.

The bust of Bolan at the site. PICTURE: Britmax at the English Wikipedia (licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0)

The memorial on Queens Ride, close to Gipsy Lane, marks the spot where the 29-year-old Bolan died on 16th September, 1977, after the purple Mini he was a passenger in – driven by his girlfriend, singer Gloria Jones – left the road and struck a fence, coming to rest against a tree.

The site of the crash quickly became a place of pilgrimage for fans and in September, 1997, the Performing Right Society installed a memorial stone for Bolan. It pays tribute to Bolan as a “musician, writer, poet” and says it was erected “in recognition of his outstanding contribution to British music”.

In 2002, a bronze bust of Bolan, the work of Canadian sculptor Jean Robillard, was installed behind the memorial stone by the T.Rex Action Group in commemoration of the 25th anniversary of his death.

The TAG had taken over care of the site – including the ‘Bolan Tree’ – in 1999 under a perpetual lease and, prior to the bust’s arrival, had added since added a series of steps at the site.

The bust, which was paid for by the group’s founder Fee Warner and is located at the top of the steps, was unveiled by Bolan’s only child Rolan.

In 2005, further plaques were added at the site commemorating the other members of T.Rex who had died –  Steve Peregrin Took, Steve Currie, Mickey Finn and Dino Dines – as well as Bolan’s wife June Bolan (they were married between 1970 and 1973).

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