Garden Lodge

London, England

Garden Lodge: accommodating a superstar.

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Exploring Freddie Mercury's Garden Lodge in Kensington

Amongst London’s many cultural landmarks lies a hidden gem, Garden Lodge, home to one of rock music's most iconic figures: Queen's Freddie Mercury.

On Logan Place, just off Earl's Court Road in South Kensington, Garden Lodge is a cherished residence and provided Mercury with a sanctuary away from the limelight. In this safe space he surrounded himself with a lifetime's collection of art, furniture, and memorabilia.

This memorabilia, after being carefully preserved at the residence for over three decades, was recently opened up to auction at Sothebys in London.

The History of Garden Lodge

Originally constructed in 1908-09 for painter Cecil Rea and sculptor Constance Halford, the detached Edwardian house has seen various notable occupants, including Peter Wilson, former chairman of Sotheby's auction house.

Mercury began his chapter at Garden Lodge in 1980. Filled with his exuberant spirit, the property hosted wild parties and late-night recording sessions. However, as the final weeks of his life approached, the once lively abode witnessed a sombre transition, with Freddie growing increasingly frail and retreating further from the public eye.

Towards the end he found solace in the company of Mary Austin, his former lover and confidante, who tenderly cared for him until his passing on 24th November 1991.

In a testament to their friendship, Mercury bequeathed Garden Lodge and a substantial portion of his estate to Austin, ensuring her security and that of her sons. To this day, Austin and her family continue to inhabit Garden Lodge, and until recently, when the majority of the collection was sent to auction, much of the decor was as Mercury left it.

Garden Lodge 5
- Douglas Arruda

Freddie Mercury’s Sanctuary

Despite its historical significance, the residence exudes a humble charm, hidden behind a towering 8-foot-high stone wall. Over the years, this wall has become a canvas for the outpouring of love and admiration from fans of Freddie Mercury, who have adorned it with heartfelt graffiti and messages since his passing.

Mercury, renowned for his affinity for "splendid things" and "exquisite clutter," filled Garden Lodge with an array of treasures and his eclectic tastes are evident in each room. From a fascination with Japanese art to handwritten lyrics and his iconic costumes, to more intimate items like moustache combs.

Today, while the property remains a family home, Garden Lodge is a pilgrimage site for Mercury's adoring fans. This is partly due to the fact that no official burial site was ever revealed to the public. In fact, only Austin is aware of Mercury’s final resting place, a secret that will accompany her to her own grave.

The Garden Lodge Collection sent to Auction

As part of a replica of Freddie’s lavish Kensington home, complete with over 33,000 personal possessions, an exhibition was unveiled by Sotheby’s auction house. The exhibit "Freddie Mercury: A World of His Own," offered a rare glimpse into Mercury's eclectic tastes and flamboyant lifestyle.

Among the highlights are photographs from his personal archive and memorabilia from Queen's famed 1986 'Magic' tour, including the iconic crown and cloak crafted by costume designer Diana Moseley. There are also a selection of peculiar finds, including a vintage Wurlitzer jukebox, an extensive collection of ornamental cats, and a quirky plastic neon telephone.

At the heart of the collection lies Mercury's cherished Yamaha G2 Baby Grand Piano, valued at an estimated £2-3 million and revealed to the public for the first time. David Macdonald of Sotheby’s describes the exhibition as a journey through Mercury's life, spanning from his formative years in school and college to the zenith of his career and his most memorable stage moments.

Our Thoughts…

While the flamboyant entertainer may no longer live at Garden Lodge, his spirit lives on in Queen's timeless melodies that continue to resonate with people around the world.

For his fans, a walk past Freddie Mercury's Garden Lodge offers a rare opportunity to pay homage to a true rock legend.

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