Crowds of Queen fans gathered as the National Heritage plaque was unveiled in Feltham on Thursday morning.
Mercury – birth name Farrokh Bulsara – lived in the pebble-dash semi at 22 Gladstone Avenue from the age of 17, when his family emigrated from Zanzibar in the autumn of 1964. While he was living there, he met his future Queen band-mates Brian May and Roger Taylor.
Attending the photo opportunity at the house on Thursday morning (September 1st), amid throngs of Queen fans, guitarist May described visiting Freddie at the house shortly after he had met him. “We spent most of the day appreciating and analysing in intimate detail the way that Jimi Hendrix had put his recordings together.”
Unveiling the plaque itself, May said: “The last thing we would have thought is that I would be here at this point, commemorating him with a blue plaque. It's a happy occasion with a tinge of sadness because he should be here - he should still be here creating.”
Mercury’s sister, Kashmira Cooke, was also present at the unveiling of the National Heritage plaque, and said that her brother would “secretly would have very proud and pleased” that the modest house would be marked in such a way.
“The house had no central heating... We were not familiar with coal fires and had to be shown how to light it,” Kashmira remembered about the house back in 1964.
At that point in his life, Freddie spent his time “sketching for his college art work” and “listening to music, particularly Jimi Hendrix… He spent hours in the bathroom grooming his hair. At the time I wasn't best pleased as there was only one bathroom!”
Mercury died in 1991 at the age of 45, from an Aids-related lung condition, and Thursday’s plaque unveiling took place just four days before what would have been the singer’s 70th birthday on September 5th.