Marc Bolan's Rock Shrine – London, England - Atlas Obscura
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London, England

Marc Bolan's Rock Shrine

A roadside shrine to a late rock god only remains thanks to the unyielding efforts of his fans. 

Father of the glam-rock trend during the 1970’s along with his band T. Rex, Marc Bolan was tragically killed, like so many rock stars far too young, at the age of 29 in a car accident in London in 1977. 

Despite his influence on the pop cultural landscape of the 1970’s, the site of Bolan’s death was never officially recognised. Thanks to a small group of devoted fans, a shrine started to grow from the moment Marc Bolan died and it that continues to grow to this day. The tribute to the musician began when lovers of Bolan’s music began making pilgrimage to the site where the car in which he was a passenger collided with a fence and stopped at the “Bolan tree”. Visitors began hanging notes and trinkets from the sycamore tree the car had come to rest at, which eventually spread to a posting board next to it. After years of devotional offerings being placed on the “Bolan Tree” the plant began to give under the weight of the love hanging from its limbs, and it began to die. 

Since the site was never officially recognised or cared for, no one knew what to do to save the tree, until a group of ultra-devoted fans formed the awesomely named “T. Rex Action Group.” TAG, as they came to be known began caring for the spot and was eventually given ownership of the land in perpetuity, and they continue to look after and improve the site to this day. The “Bolan Tree” was scheduled for felling by 2002. Their actions meant it lived for a further 13 years until it was poisoned and had to be felled in 2015. The site is still marked and covered with flowers and tributes.

In 1997 a stone plaque was added and five years later for Bolan’s 25th Anniversary a bronze bust of the flamboyant performer was unveiled by his son. Bolan’s musical influence has not much abated in the decades since his death and new fans are born every day, assuring that the site of his death will continue to accumulate devotionals for another four decades.