• London walks – The Gilmourish way!

    For the last decade or so I’ve been to London about 2-3 times a year. I love this town! Its atmosphere, its culture, its history and the beer! Although I’ve seen the attractions tons of times I always have to at least see some of them on every trip… and I’m not talking about Big Ben.

    London is full of Pink Floyd related sightings. No wonder really since they were British but this also means that you can combine these holy sites with the usual sightseeing routine.

    - The Battersea Power Station seen from the train as you pass by from Gatwick airport to Victoria station. Click the image and download a wallpaper!

    For me it started 8 years ago when me and a friend went to London to see David perform at the Royal Festival Hall with his “unplugged” show. We landed at Gatwick airport and just as we were closing in on London my friend cried out “holy shit!” and I turned around, looked out the window and screamed like a young girl scout that had just lost her entire supply of coockies. The rest of the passengers laughed their asses off as we were desperately trying to find our cameras before the train rushed passed by Battersea Power Station. It’s strange because you can’t really see it until you’re right next to it and this monstrous building just stands there like some medieval fortress. I was struck by a sense of awe and terror at once.

    A route that I recommend is to start off at Earl’s Court just South West of Hyde Park. Earl’s Court Square is just a block south of the underground station. Syd lived here from 1967-70 and David for a short period in 1969. The pictures for the Madcap Laughs album is also shot here. The Earl’s Court Exhibition Centre isn’t all that to look at but as Floyd fans we know that there’s a lot of history here. It’s a great experience just to stand outside and run a couple of bootlegs in your head before moving on. In the 70s this was kind of the Madison Square Garden of London and Pink Floyd has held some of their more legendary concerts here like in 1973, 1980-81 and of course 1994.

    - The Earl’s Court Exhibition Centre.

    Further South you’ll reach West Brompton Cemetery. The cemetery was opened in 1840 and is considered as one of the finest in London. If you’re into these sort of things I really recommend that you pay it a visit. The cover for the first Airbag EP “Sounds That I Hear” was shot here.

    Now, around the corner along Chelsea Embankment some very familiar chimneys are starting to appear in the distance. For each step you take they get bigger and then you’re there – next to Battersea Power Station. Reaching it from its West side allows you to go around it from behind and into what’s left of the old back yard with the familiar brick walls covered with barbed wire as seen in the Animals booklet and guitar book. The site seems to get new redevelopment plans each year but at least now they’ve decided not to tear it down. I mean it’s the cover of THE greatest album of all time!

    - The Battersea Power Station as seen from the Chelsea Embankment. Click the image and download a wallpaper!

    - One of the chimneys behind a brick wall and barb wire on the South West side of the power station. Click the image and download a wallpaper!

    Another great walk is around David’s houseboat Astoria in suburban South West London. Some might feel that this is close to being a stalker but visiting Hampton (or Richmond upon Thames) is an experience in it self. Just off the train station is the magnificent Hampton Court Palace – King Henry VIII’s old palace built in early 16th century. If you take a stroll through the vast park you’ll end up in Hampton Wick. A small town where you’ll find Charlie Chandler’s Guitar Experience. A rather small shop but all the more filled with tons of history. Chandler of course is a long time friend of David and among many things restored The Black Strat in 1997 when they’ve retrieved it from Hard Rock Cafe.

    - The Astoria as seen on the opposite bank along the Thames. Click the image and download a wallpaper!

    Back at the Hampton Court along the South side of the Thames you’ll reach Astoria after 15-20mins. About half way up you’ll reach Hampton School Boat Club which of course sets off a though or two among us Floyd nerds when the rowers are passing by. This route is the only way you’ll be able to see Astoria as the main entrance is covered by a huge wall and lots of trees. The view is spectacular and to just sit there on a bench with Astoria right in front of you is an amazing experience. David’s rarely there so there’s little chance of any action on the boat but the beauty of the boat it self is more than enough. David and Phil has done a fantastic job keeping this boat in such a good condition.

    - Macari’s guitar shop in Charing Cross.

    No guitarist can leave London without a visit to Denmark Street just off Tottenham Court Road and Charing Cross. Denmark Street is packed with guitar shops of all variations. Some are just the usual Marshall, a package of strings and a ukulele kind of shop while others are real havens from Andy’s Guitars to the magnificent Vintage and Rare Guitars shop. A couple of blocks down Charing Cross lies Macari’s – home of the Colorsound pedals. This is a place I always visit and if you still haven’t picked up that Colorsound Power Boost then this is the place! The old Sound City shop used to be located right around the corner producing Fuzz Faces and Sound City amps in the late 60s.

    Do you have any favourite places in London? Please feel free to share them!

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41 Responsesso far.

  1. Alexandra says:

    Hi! Great post, thank you for sharing. I’m going to London next week and I would love to see Astoria but I can’t seem to get any good directions on how to get there. Do you mind sharing? Thanks in advance! :)

    • Bjorn says:

      There is a train from London, Liverpool Street I think, to Hampton right outside the castle. Once there, there is a nice hike on the southern side the of the river to the boat.

  2. Dear bjorn,
    I always try to follow your advice about gilmours rig. Under your advice i bought Fender Blues Junior III, Fender American Standar Strat HSS (special offer), Dunlop Fuzz Face BC108 Mini Blue, Mooer Triangle Buff, Mooer Eleclady, MXR Phase 90 Scrip Custom Shop, Catalinbread Echorec. As you can see I needed the CS Power Boost to get the right tones but finally I decided to buy it because this was the last unit in Macaris. If you check the Macaris web page you will see there are no units available now. I have the correct Amp to CSPBoost?

    A hug, Luigi

    • Bjorn says:

      How does the fuzz and muff sound n your amp? Normally I wouldn’t recommend a CPB for Fender amps but if you’re happy with the other pedals on that amp then go for it :) You might also want to check out similar sounding boosters, like the Keeley Phat Mod, TC Spark Boost etc, which might sound better on your amp.

  3. Luigi says:

    Hi Bjorn, Im interested in buying a Coloursound Power Boots Macaris reedicion. Have you tried them? Are they a good alternative? I want your advice before to spend that important amount of money.

    Cheers!

    Luigi

    • Bjorn says:

      I have an older Macaris that I dearly love :) The thing about the Powerbooster is that it depends very much on the amp how it will sound. It can sound amazing on some amps and like a tiny fart on others. What amp do you have?

  4. Marc-Andre says:

    Laura, Chad and I might meet here in London on the 22nd if you wish to join us email me marc-andre.paquette@bell.net

    Im in London already leaving the 24th in the morning.

    • Laura says:

      Hi Marc-Andre. I actually won’t be in London until the 25 as I am going to Paris first. Chad and I hope to meet before the Gilmour show on the 25th. I hope you are having fun in London. I know it’s going to be my favorite town!!

  5. Hi, I am coming to London on 9/22/15 to see the show on 9/25. I am looking for something to do after the show. I would love to meet other Pink Floyd fans. I has been a fan since I was 14 years old. Finally made the leap of faith!! All of these posts are so inspiring to me as I don’t meet many of us here in Cali… Hope to hear from you soon.

  6. Chad says:

    Marc-André ill be flying in the 22 from canada for the RAH shows email me maybe we can work something out… chadplamondon@hotmail.com

    anyone know of a good place to get pink floyd vinyl and mercy? thanks!!!

  7. Marc-André says:

    And by the way thanks Bjorn for sharing this it’s going to make my trip worthwhile :)

  8. Marc-André says:

    Hey guys, I’m going to see David Gilmour from September 17th to 24th. If any of you want to meet and do a Floyd/Gilmour tour in London I would be more than happy to organize that.

    Cheers from Canada

  9. Maurice says:

    Ive been too denmark st. Today. I visited macari’s today for a coloursound power booster, but they weren’t there because they were getting redesigned, so I bought a BD-2 instead. Anyway the biggest thing is when I was buying this, my dad (a semi PF fan) was sitting outside a café and he said he saw DG walking by. First I thought it was BS but his discription was VERY accurate. Damn. Anyway visiting the astoria tomorrow

    [Have a great weekend in London! – Bjorn]

  10. Carlos says:

    Awesome. The same thing happened to me. On the train from the airport to London and without knowing there, it wa, the Battersea Power Station. I was like, what! I know that factory, and yes, you described it correctly, fear and awe and excitment, like a little girl. Such a great experience. Now if the flying pig was still hanging there…

  11. Dave A says:

    Hope you dont mind me asking this but how about a few other citys.New york for one maybe.Mannys where the Black strat was bought,any other places there ?Stockholm,anything there ?

    [I’m sure there are lots of places around the world especially considering that they’ve been touring a lot throughout the years. London and its surroundings is special though since the band originates from these places and have used many of them as a reference in their lyrics and artwork. – Bjorn]

  12. Hello wonderful post ..I was amazed to see such a great site dedicated to the legendary David Gilmour i am in awe with this site.I am gonna be adding your site to my blog too.please do check out my review of pink floyd and let me know what you feel about it..

    Thanks

    [Thanks! Glad you enjoy my site :) – Bjorn]

  13. Chad says:

    Awesome Bjorn, I’ve often wondered about some of the ‘scenery’ included in some of the Floyd album/jacket covers. It’s cool to know that some of these places can still be seen today. My question is about the Meddle album cover. Where did that come from? Speaking of which, as much as I love the Animals album, Meddle has always been my favorite. I can listen to Echoes over and over and over and over, well, you get the idea. What a great piece of music! We all miss you Richard :(

    [Floyd and Storm/Hipgnosis came up with the idea for the Meddle cover. The ear represents the sonic nature of music while the ripples represents the soundwaves. – Bjorn]

  14. Dave says:

    Hi, fantastic posts. I was going to mention Brittania Row, but someone beat me to it. Another interesting spot would be The Rainbow Theatre in the Finsbury Park area North London, a fav Floyd venue pre Dark Side.

  15. Rozq says:

    Hey Bjorn.
    These are brilliant photos. Must have been an amazing experience to go there. Anyway, don’t know if you heard but David released an album yesterday or so. It’s called The ORB feat. DG ‘Metallic Spheres’. I think that it is worth mentioning on your site!
    Cheers,
    Paul

    [It’s not actually a Gilmour album. He’s on it as a guest with The Orb. I did a piece a couple of weeks ago :) – Bjorn]

  16. Henrique says:

    Well, I still don’t have a favorite place in London because I’ve never been there. But I’m planning a trip in the end of the year and for sure I will visit some guitar shops. Thanks for the information.

    http://bandatempora.posterous.com

  17. Sly F says:

    As posted on the Gilmour Gear Forum, here is a really cool site for Floyd Spotters :
    – MAP (http://www.seedfloyd.fr/guide-du-routard-floydien)
    – places in UK (most in London : http://www.seedfloyd.fr/guide-du-routard-floydien#royaume-uni)

  18. Eric Nyberg says:

    Bjorn, to answer your question I’ve never been to Abbey Road, let alone England. I’d like to make it over there sometime. I saw The Wall last Friday in Boston MA and it was stunning, Roger did it right thank God. Looking forward to the new Airbag too!

    [Glad to hear. I’m going to London in May and are looking forward to the show and a bit sceptical to the peformance but we’ll see. – Bjorn]

  19. Hi Bjorn..Good stuff……
    Not a gilmour tour but one place that got me hooked on playing for ever was The Airman pub in Feltham(where i came from)
    every Thurs,Fri and Sat they had a band on…Some were better than others of course and some were fantastic.(my band springs to mind..ha ha..)
    “Blackfoot sue” were a regular band.Just great.I would memorise a riff and play it when i got home(no you tube to cheat back then)All back in 1977/1981….
    Richmond and Twickenham had good pub venues(Eel pie island)
    and of course the Red Lion in Brentford were i met the late
    Boz Burrell playing in his fun band.
    Also met Mick Ralphs at Nomis studios…
    There were and i hope there still is great music venues all over
    the uk…

    Laney… 0/250 people…
    Try playing to two old gits and a brown dog in a north london pub…

    [Thanks for sharing :) – Bjorn]

  20. Steve Schibuola says:

    Great article, Bjorn! One of the things on my “bucket list” is to visit London and do the unofficial tour of Monty Python filming sites – now I have something to do on Day Two!

    [Cheers Steve! – Bjorn]

  21. Ernest says:

    Nice topic Bjorn!
    Maybe we (Gilmourish paople) should arrange a trip.
    Here some more pictures (gilmour gear forum):
    http://zychal.net/forum/viewtopic.php?p=58851&highlight=#58851

    [Cool! Thanks! – Bjorn]

  22. TQuay says:

    Hello,

    Yes, I had the same experience with Battersea Power station as many of you! I am American and was visiting friends in Kent, England during college. The first thing I remember is telephoning my friend in Kent to say we had arrived and the phone rang with the ring tones like in “The Wall” when Pink was calling home. When my friend said we had to take a train from Victoria Station we bought tickets and our change came clinking out of the ticket booth like the effects that begin “Money.”

    Later on the train I was listening to “ANimals” (what else) and Battersea appeared and you know the rest. What struck me was the evil of the place that I feel Roger was trying to convey in his lyrics. It was eerie like touring a concentration camp.(I mean no offence to say a concentration camp but learn more unflinchingly about capitalism’s crimes past and present and you may well agree.) Americans are always so pro capitalism and it does have many benefits but there is also a dark side that few understand or are willing to talk about. Roger’s genius is writing about what is lurking right in front of us all if we are just brave enough. I learned a lot that trip to say the least.

    Anyway, in modern times last December I stopped by Macaris and bought their last orange power boost. I had the AA clone which is very different and not near as good. Do yourself a favor and buy a real one and take the Pink FLoyd tour like a good fan!!

    [It was genius to use Battersea for the Animals cover. It was fully operation in 1976/77 and even today you get a strong sense of the symbolic meaning of the building. – Bjorn]

  23. Dave A says:

    Nice artical Bjorn.Although im not living in England anymore I still hold untold memories of Battersea Power Station,its on the train line from my stomping ground from childhood.Have stared out the train window on a regular basis.So thanks for this article from a personel point of view.Regarding your comment to Marks post above made me think that there will be a few Gilmourish.com regulars at the 02.What dates are you all going.Could be a Beer moment coming up.Anyway what do you think are the chances that Mr Gilmour will use this venue to make an appearence.I think its a strong possibility,just dunno what day though.Anyone got any inside information.

    [That would be nice indeed! It’s been reported that David will perform in the States but I don’t think this is based on an actual quote from neither him nor Waters so we’ll have to see. I’d think it’s strange if he didn’t show in London but it’s impossible to tell… – Bjorn]

  24. angelo says:

    Thank you for sharing!
    Very interisting like ever.
    very very nice.

    Please visit my “London walks – The Gilmourish way”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3XH_g93SJJs

    [Great clip! Thanks for sharing :) – Bjorn]

  25. Lee says:

    HAHAHA…..squealed like a girl guide…..i did exactly the same thing in 1980….in fact it will be 30 years to the day at the end of the month. We were leaving England (my family) to move to Adelaide and we travelled overnight from our home town, the next morning after a taxi ride we got the next train to the airport and i had the same scene as you…..i was still only 17 though :-)…..When i went back in 1993 with my new band i made it a personal mission to get there on foot and took Grant the drummer and Jason the keyboard player with me….we climbed in through a gap in the fence and there i was….
    I will do it again the next time i get back there…..

    Just to add to this…..there are always cries of ‘YES!” there it is whenever we are watching TV and it’s in London and there is a fleeting glimpse of it somewhere, have a look at the show Location Location Location….they have been there a couple of times and one episode the cameraman makes an effort to capture some great angles…

    Ok, i may have said too much now hehe…..i’m not really that strange…

    Am i ?

    Lee

    (great site Bjorn ;-) )

    [Thanks for sharing Lee! You were lucky to have experinced he old site. Little is left of the backyard, the railways and barbwire after they’ve begun the restoration of the whole park. Cheers! – Bjorn]

  26. Jay says:

    Do you know if the words “Shine On Syd” is still on the wall infront of Abbey Road, i think i saw it eaither on BBC The Syd Barret Story, or in Inside an Out Pink Floyd.

    [Probably not. They repaint the walls every year. – Bjorn]

  27. Mark says:

    Hoping to do some sightseeing myself when Roger’s playing at the O2 next year :) Great pics Bjorn!

    [See you there! – Bjorn]

  28. JT says:

    Nice to see where we have been Bjørn! Glad to be a part of these trips, really enjoy you as a travel mate!

    I have, as you know, had a love affair with London for 25 years and spent more than 120 days there in total over the years. One of the best things when I’m there is of course to see Battersea Power Station, my personal cathedral, which I have to get a peak at every time (do not spend as many hours there each time as we did once though ;-)

    Looking forward to the next trip together (just a few days away now :-))

    Cheers!

    JT

    Here are some other Floyd related areas/places to visit:
    (although not always much to see as the world have changed a lot since the early days of Floyd, but at least you can say that you have been there…)

    Regent Street Polytechnic was located at 309 Regent Street

    39 Stanhope Gardens, Highgate (refered to as “The Highgate Flat” – Mike Leonard’s flat that everyone lived in for a while and where they also experimented with lightning technics and a lot of other stuff as well ;-)

    1A Palace Gate, Kensington – Home of The Countdown Club (Floyd played some gigs there in 1965 before they got gigs at the UFO club)

    32 Alexander Street, Bayswater (home of Blackhill Enterprises 1965-66)

    90 Wardour Street, Soho (former address of the Marquee Club)

    Think the original UFO club was located at 31 Tottenham Court Rd

    Manchester Square (just of Oxford St) – Head office of EMI was located here in 1966, where the famous “we got a record deal”-photos were taken.

    Roundhouse at Camden

    Crystal Palace Bowl, Crystal Palace

    35 Brittania Row, Islington – The original location of Brittania Row Studios, and in the same area: Islington Green School where the kids choir for Another Brick pt 2 came from.

    Grand Hall, Olympia (Animals tour rehearsals 1977)

    2 Earlham Street, Covent Garden (Syd’s residence 1966-67)
    101 Cromwell Rd, Kensington (Syd’s residence 1967)
    Earl’s Court Square (Syd’s residence 1968-70 + David’s in 1969)
    Chelsea Cloisters, Sloan Avenue (Syd’s residence 1973-78, 1982) Room 902

    Leinster Gardens, Bayswater (Richard’s residence 1971-72)

    St. Augustine’s Rd, Camden (Nick’s residence 1971.74)
    Highgate (Nick’s residence from 1974)

    New North Rd, Islington (Roger’s residence 1971-78)
    _____________________________________

    [I knew I could count on you to fill the gaps :) Yeah we’ve had some great trips together and I’m sure Larsen Travels will take me to new places in the future too! – Bjorn]

  29. Richard Stone says:

    You should see the Cambridge sights as well, Bjorn. Get the view of Ely cathedral from The Division Bell cover. Grantchester Meadowz is beaitiful as well.

    [Next on my list! Cheers! – Bjorn]

  30. bruno sallès says:

    hello Bjorn
    and many thanks to you for this amazing trip among music history.
    London is the place where everything comes from,speakin’ about this pink period..
    i can’t afford the trip but i would like to!!!
    it really helps me dreamin’ it.
    emotions …that’s life.
    hope you feel fine.
    all the best to you.bruno

    [Cheers Bruno! – Bjorn]

  31. Eric Nyberg says:

    Have you ever been to Abbey Road Bjorn?

    [Yes, I have. Not inside but I’ve crossed the street like Beatles, sat on the stairs like David and wrote on the wall like everyone else… the usual routine :) What about your self? – Bjorn]

  32. Sly F says:

    Abbey Road Studios is a place to go too, that’s where Shine On was recorded. And Hyde Park for the Live 8 performance. The Hammersmith Odeon… And if you want to buy floydian stuff like tshirts, glasses, wallets, posters you can go to Baker Street in a 2 floor shop called It’s only Rock’n Roll.

    [Abbey Road is of course well worth a visit… not only because of Floyd of course :) – Bjorn]

  33. Stan says:

    Olympic studios just down my road, I was due to do some work there until it shut down. Sad Times.

  34. Evel1 says:

    Wow! Incredible post there Bjorn.

    Thank you for sharing. Personally ejoyed seeing Macari’s!! We are planning a trip (finally) Summer 11′, so this even has a greater use as well. Not that we’ll get to take all of these in.

    [Macari’s is well worth a visit! – Bjorn]

  35. Jay says:

    I remeber being 6 and not realizeing that i was looking at Daves black strat at the Dallas Hard Rock Cafe, but makes me mad now becase they tore the thing up, Dallas has some bad Floyd history within it, if you remeber when sometime between 70-72 when the bands equipment all got stolen in the states, most of it was recovered in warehouse storage facility in east dallas, Rogers gong and some of Ricks Organs was found…however not Daves first black strat..

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