Live: Three Tuns, Beckenham

David Bowie performed for the fourth time at the Three Tuns in Beckenham on 4 May 1969.

The Sunday night sessions were initially billed as The Folk Club, but would later become the Beckenham Arts Lab. The event was masterminded by Bowie and his landlady and lover Mary Finnigan, and the founder members also included Barrie and Christina Jackson..

Also performing on this night was singer/guitarist Tucker Zimmerman, whose debut album Ten Songs, produced by Tony Visconti, had been released in December 1968.

The 23 May – 5 June 1969 edition of International Times carried an announcement by Mary Finnegan about the Sunday night sessions (complete with an incorrect claim about Bob Dylan).

We are starting an Arts Lab in home suburb, Beckenham, and getting things moving with Contemporary Folk on Sunday evenings at the local boozer, The Three Tuns in Beckenham High Street.

The people involved are musician/composer David Bowie, artist Christina Jackson, her poet husband Barrie and myself. We’d welcome support from interested parties and suggestions for premises, money etc.

We are charging 5/- entrance for the Folk Club, with student reductions. If we get good turn-outs the proceeds will go towards financing other Arts Lab activities. The plan is to turn on the adults by spearheading the project at children. Initially we will run Saturday morning poetry, music and mime scenes for children, gradually expanding to include theatre projects for kids and ultimately a good full programme for adults, with plenty of space for experimental ideas.

On Saturday 18th May we had Mike Absalom and David Bowie, on Sunday 25th Bob Dylans’ cousin, Tuck Zimmerman is making a guest appearance.

For further information contact:
Mary Finnigan or David Bowie,

The Three Tuns became the Rat and Parrot in the 1990s, but reverted to its old name shortly before its closure in 2003. It reopened later that year as an Italian restaurant. A plaque outside says: “David Bowie Rock Musician Lived in Beckenham & Launched His Career in The Three Tuns 1969 – 1973”.

David Bowie plaque outside the former Three Tuns pub

Last updated: 21 March 2023
Live: Wigmore Hall, London
Live: Three Tuns, Beckenham
Also on this day...

Want more? Visit the David Bowie history section.

Leave a Reply