The Real Life Inspiration for Frankie Finch’s Flamingo Club

Have you ever wondered where the idea came from for Frankie Finch‘s notorious rooftop nightclub? It was actually inspired by a trip (many years ago) to Kensington Roof Gardens. Sadly this closed to the public in 2018 but I’m hoping that one day it will be re-opened (and is being maintained in the meantime!)

The roof gardens cover 1.5 acres of rooftop above a department store and the venue has been used for various things over the years. For a while it was a tea pavilion, then a nightclub, then a restaurant.

Kensington Roof Gardens are a series of three beautiful gardens perched high above Kensington High Street. They were opened in 1938 and cost £25k to create (which would be a whopping £1.8 million today).

According to Wikipedia (the font of all knowledge) it is divided into three themed gardens:

– a Spanish garden, in a Moorish style based upon the Alhambra in Spain, with fountains, vine-covered walkways and Chusan palms;

– a Tudor style garden, characterised by its archways, secret corners and hanging wisteria. Roses, lilies and lavender contribute the rich summer scent to the garden;

– an English water garden, with over 100 species of trees, a stream, and a garden pond.

It was also home to four flamingos called Bill, Ben, Splosh and Pecks (pictured below).

Kensington Roof gardens from the street
No machine-readable author provided. Thomas Blomberg assumed (based on copyright claims). / CC BY-SA

Above: Kensington Roof Gardens sit on top of this building, barely visible from the street below

The famous Kensington Roof Garden flamingos

The famous Kensington Roof Garden flamingos
Edwardx / CC BY-SA

The view over London from Kensington Roof Garden

The view over London from Kensington Roof Garden

Edwardx / CC BY-SA
flickr user Bryce Edwards / CC BY

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