Santa backs Beckenham bandstand restoration appeal

Published Monday, 8 December 2014

Santa at Beckenham band stand

A Beckenham bandstand legacy brick will make a novel Christmas present for some, whilst supporters of the bandstand are also being invited to purchase a legacy brick.

As part of a campaign to raise restoration funds, the bricks can be inscribed with a short message and will form a circular pathway around the late Victorian structure. Research has revealed that the bandstand is the only remaining bandstand of this style and character in the country. The much loved bandstand also has links to one of Beckenham’s most famous residents, David Bowie. Tickets to an exclusive celebratory launch party are also available, with proceeds also supporting the £120,000 restoration project. 

The restoration campaign, in partnership with the Friends of Croydon Road Recreation Ground, follows the Bowie music festival afternoon in August. The August date coincided exactly with the 45th anniversary of the Beckenham Free Festival organised by Bowie and The Beckenham Arts Laboratory in 1969. 

Chris Phillips, Chairman of Friends of Croydon Road Recreation Ground said, “There is clearly much interest in the bandstand, which has received interest not just locally and nationally, but overseas too. Now by purchasing a brick, supporters have a unique opportunity to become part of the Beckenham bandstand history and as each brick will be able to contain a short message, the brick could be a unique Christmas present or used to commemorate a special occasion or remember a loved one.” 

The restoration appeal has already raised over £15,000, which will be boosted as sales of the £100 bricks and £35 tickets for the launch party increase. It is envisaged that the remaining funding will be raised with grant funding and an application to the Heritage Lottery fund will be submitted early in the new year. The bricks can be purchased on the council’s website www.bromley.gov.uk/beckenhambandstand by individuals, families, groups or organisations and businesses.

“Whilst people quite rightly pay tribute to the superstar legend of David Bowie as well as the other musicians who have performed at the Bandstand over time, I would like to pay tribute to the Friends of Beckenham Rec. Their efforts have created widespread interest  and their unstinting determination has been an inspiration for us all to draw from. Although this project remains in its infancy, their work is a testament to what can be achieved where the will exists to make things change for the better. So please, let’s all dig deep and let’s make this happen for future generations to enjoy ” said Councillor Colin Smith, Executive Councillor for Environment.

The elegant bandstand, which was one of a pair by the Glasgow firm of McCallum & Hope Ltd, requires specialist works to the roof to ensure it is watertight and damage to the iron structure does not occur. The technical survey revealed that much of the original materials remain, with major wooden roof timbers and intricate iron works still in place, but with the original gate long disappeared.

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, used by Beckenham’s Harold Bride, the junior wireless officer on the ocean liner RMS Titanic to address cheering crowds in the park, has witnessed civic and royal ceremonies, balloon flights and flower shows which rivalled Chelsea in popularity.

Further information about how to purchase a commemorative brick is available online www.bromley.gov.uk/parks. The bricks can be purchased by individuals, families, groups or organisations and businesses.

ENDS 

Notes to editors:

  • Further information about the The Friends of Croydon Road Recreation Ground, formed in 2004 and whose logo is an image of the bandstand, can be found by visiting http://www.becrec.net/
  • Further information about Croydon Road Recreation Ground can be found at www.bromley.gov.uk/parks
  • For media enquiries, please contact Andrew Rogers, Communications Advisor, on 020 8461 7670 or email andrew.rogers@bromley.gov.uk