What Happened To London's Giant Freddie Mercury Statue?

By James FitzGerald Last edited 22 months ago
What Happened To London's Giant Freddie Mercury Statue?
Photo by Matt in the Londonist Flickr pool.

During the last few years of chaos and confusion around St Giles Circus — AKA the road junction outside Tottenham Court Road tube station — a quiet change has happened which you may not have noticed, but which is guaranteed to blow your mind.  

Yes, the legendary gig venue the Astoria was demolished to allow the construction of what will eventually be known as the Elizabeth line. But unless you’ve been living in a Crossrail-sized tunnel since 2009, you'll know that sad fact already.   

What we're talking about here is a loss no less significant for music history... at least, for anyone who really loves the song Fat Bottomed Girls.  

Surreptitiously, the 20ft-tall statue of Freddie Mercury statue which proudly stood atop the canopy outside the Dominion Theatre was taken down. Just like that. Those wiggling, gold-coloured hips had welcomed no fewer than 6.6 million viewers to the musical We Will Rock You over 12 years.

It happened soon after the curtain fell for the final time in spring 2014.

And we still miss it. Mercury had true connections to the area: apparently, he once set fire to a kitchen nearby on one of his regular nights out. And it was at the Dominion Theatre itself that he made his final public appearance at the 1990 Brit awards.    

The Dominion, post-Freddie. Photo by M@ in the Londonist Flickr pool.

A huge, glistening monument to this stupendous, salacious showman? It kind of spoke for all of Soho. You really felt like big Fred might, at any moment, leap off his pedestal and leg it down Old Compton Street for a night on the town.  

But where did he really get to?

At the time, we speculated that he might have been bound for the Fourth Plinth, City Hall, or even the International Space Station.    

In actual fact, the statue's now standing in Roger Taylor’s garden. Ben Elton, writer of We Will Rock You, has claimed the Queen drummer just "nicked it", and that Brian May wasn’t altogether chuffed. It seems Guildford Borough Council wasn't either — its planning chiefs took issue with the size of the thing at one point.

The statue might have gone to a good home, but it still feels a loss if ordinary Londoners can't behold Freddie anymore. Not least in a part of town where so much quirky musical history is biting the dust.

What next — Mohammed Al Fayed to pull down the statue of Michael Jackson which stands (quite logically) outside Craven Cottage, the home of Fulham FC?

Oh wait, that one happened too.     

Nothing's forever, though — easy come, easy go, little high, little low. And now that The Bodyguard’s playing at the Dominion, perhaps we can hope for a giant bust of Whitney Houston to be erected above the theatre entrance. We'll always love you too, Whitney.

Last Updated 19 October 2016