Bolan's shrine, on what would have been his 60th birthday, 30 September 2007
The Bolan Tree in June 1978
Marc Bolan's Rock Shrine is the memorial to Marc Bolan where he died when the car in which he was a passenger hit a sycamore tree on Queen's Ride (part of the B306, close to Gipsy Lane) in Barnes, London, on 16 September 1977.
Marc Bolan died, aged 29, from injuries sustained when his purple Mini, driven by his girlfriend Gloria Jones, crashed. Jones lost control of the car and it struck a steel reinforced chain link fence post and came to rest against a sycamore tree after failing to negotiate a small humpback bridge near Gipsy Lane on Queens Ride, Barnes, southwest London. From the day of the accident the site became a place of pilgrimage to Bolan fans and this was reported in various newspapers from 1978 onwards. Coincidentally the registration number of the car was FOX 661L and within the lyrics of his single "Solid Gold Easy Action" are the lines "Easy as picking foxes from a tree" and "Woman from the east with her headlights shining"
In September 1997, the Performing Right Society installed a memorial stone for Bolan, facing into Gipsy Lane at the base of the embankment from the "Bolan Tree" located in Queen's Ride. The memorial stone, a bronze bust of Bolan paid for exclusively by T-Rex Action Group founder Fee Warner, and sculpted by Canadian sculptor Jean Robillard, was unveiled by Bolan's only child – Rolan Bolan. In late 1998, the Daily Mail reported that the tree was in danger of falling as it was by a busy main road and was becoming unsafe. In 1999 the T-Rex Action Group (TAG) was formed with the specific aim of caring for the site. TAG were granted an in perpetuity lease on the site with ownership and full responsibility for the "Bolan Tree". During 2000, TAG built steps up the muddy embankment between the "Bolan Tree" on Queen's Ride and the PRS Memorial facing Gipsy Lane and took the action needed to make the tree safe so that the threat of falling was removed.
In 2005, memorial plaques were fitted to the steps to remember other members of T-Rex who have also died: Steve Peregrin Took, Steve Currie, Mickey Finn and Dino Dines. A memorial plaque was also included for Marc Bolan's wife June Bolan (née Child) as recognition for her contribution to his success.
Official recognition in 2007 of the site as Marc Bolan's Rock Shrine
In February 2007, the 30th anniversary year of Marc Bolan's death, the work done by the T-Rex Action Group since 1999 was recognised by the English Tourist Board's publication of its new guide England Rocks which features 113 "Sites of Rock 'n' Roll Importance" in England. In London 29 sights are listed, but many are "general sights" such as Abbey Road and Wembley Stadium which are not "person-specific". Only Marc Bolan, Jimi Hendrix and Freddie Mercury are listed in the guide in their own right.