Over the gate...

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Wednesday, 25 March 2009

John at home: 1967.

I finally got a copy of the Beatles Book with Part 1 of the John visit. Here is an extract:
“The entrance to John’s estate is marked by a pair of huge wooden gates. We drove through them and up the path which winds around to the front of his house. My first impression was of a large mock Tudor mansion, lots of red brick, white walls and an iron-studded, oaken door. But this door was slightly different. It had been sprayed with paint aerosols in many colours. Over the large knocker was the crest of the Lennon clan.
John opened the door himself. After a quick “Come in,” he led the way into the house.
I was completely overwhelmed with the fantastic collection of instruments, pictures, furniture, antiques, flowers, stickers, models, books, which met my gaze.
On the ground floor there is a large entrance hall, lined with shelves of books stretching from floor to ceiling. To the right it leads to the kitchen, which is situated in the centre of the house, and to the left to two rooms, one very large, one small. The smaller room contained two pianos, one Broadwood, one Bechstein. The mahogany case of the Bechstein was fast disappearing under a psychedelic design, which was being painted on by two Dutch artists, Simon and Marijke. The right hand wall was was covered with a bookcase. In the middle of the room was a television set covered with stickers. The next room was very large with three beautiful, soft sofas in it. In one corner was an extraordinary Chinese screen cutting, and next to it the brass statue with the gorilla’s mask on it, and a pipe stuck in its mouth, upside-down. On one side of the fireplace were three turntables. John is very fond of putting on L.P.’s of noises these days, and one played constantly while I was there, broken only by bursts of All You Need Is Love.
On the shelves near the record player were arranged several of John’s gold discs, statuettes and certificates.
In the centre of the fireplace was a huge colour television.
We next went next door to the dining room. The centre piece was a beautiful antique table surrounded by chairs. The kitchen led off the dining room. There’s a most unusual stove in the middle of the room which consists of a table like surface, built of white tiles, in which are fitted the hot plates for cooking.
Next John took us upstairs to see his music studio. This is only a small room, stuck right at the top of the house. There’s a battery of tape-recorders along one wall; an organ and a piano along another, and on the third is a Mellotron. Then we went downstairs into the garden. On the way down we found a rocking horse. Julian climbed into the saddle, and John got up behind him to give him a ride. Downstairs again to the main lounge, where John flipped a new L.P. of sounds on to one of the turntables, then through the dining room again and into a small room which overlooks the garden terrace. It was full of “things you hang on the walls”, every bit of space was covered with odd caricatures of John, of the Beatles, faded Victorian photos, crosses, statues, you name it, John has already stuck it on a hook on his wall”. © Beatles Book Monthly, 1967.

I think this proves that the ground floor in 1967 was structurally pretty much the same as in 2006. Also, the location of these pics is more certain...

The "small" room I'd say, to the left of the entrance. (This is what Ken Partridge must have been referring to as the "Rumpus Room", not the sunroom). Compare the curtains (always good advice). The Fool-ish piano one also taken in this room, and then there is the pic of John in the bath-chair. This is often referred to as being from his library - but I reckon it could also be the same room - "The right hand wall was covered with a bookcase".

In 2006, this small room was being called the sitting room, and here is how it looked:

The colour pic of John and Julian would have been taken to the left, outwith the range of the 2006 pic, the sofa on the left in roughly the same position as the '68 family shot, the book wall to the right, and the piano wall behind the '06 photographer.

Or not.

1 comment:

  1. Very interesting! I remember reading this in The Beatles Monthly Book, and also the same pieces written when visiting Paul, George and Ringo's homes. I still find it very amusing that John, and Hunter Davies I think mentions this in his biography, would spend most of his time in that tiny sunroom in the back, and not really use the rest of the rooms at all.