Over the gate...

Designed in 1913 by Victorian/Edwardian/other architect Theophilus A Allen; John Lennon's house between 1964 and 1968; sunroom, attic and prisco stripe hibernice; Mellotron and caravan; Babidji and Mimi; mortar and pestle; Wubbleyoo Dubbleyoo; curios and curiosity; remnants and residue; testimonials and traces; (Cavendish Avenue, Sunny Heights and Kinfauns); Montagu Square; mock Tudor: Brown House: *KENWOOD*.

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Monday, 31 August 2009

Kenwood 1913: part 3.

The penultimate section of Theophilus A Allen's original 1913 plan for what was to become Kenwood - this time showing the 1st floor (2nd floor US). Again, it's interesting to note the coal burning fireplace in each room. The master bedroom in the Lennon-era consisted of a large bedroom, a dressing room, and an en-suite bathroom. If the guesswork about the position of this photo is correct (namely the right hand side of bedroom 2 on this plan), then it's possible that they knocked the wall between bedrooms 1 and 2 down, and filled in the fireplace and right hand entrance, thus making one big room. Many thanks to Chris Sileo for his renderings here of how that might have been. (Also note: The only bit left of that side when Joe Baiardi was there was the dressing room fireplace).

Friday, 28 August 2009

Kenwood: drawing room, 1965 part 2 - road crew.

Another splendidly candid shot, from the drawing room at Kenwood circa 1965. That's Alf Bicknell, the Beatles' chauffeur (as opposed to Les Anthony, John's personal driver) nearest the dining room door - and clearly having a whale of a time, too. Is that Neil Aspinall on the couch? Looks like it to me - which means this may have been taken by Mal Evans. Or not. As ever. Note (what is likely to be) Scotch and Coke on the table in front of John.
Speaking of intoxicants, Alf Bicknell, interestingly enough, in an interview not that long before his death, contradicted one of the great yarns of Beatles' lore - namely the "Dental Experience". Alf's version of events was a little more prosaic - to wit: He drove them to John Riley's place, waited for a couple of hours, whereupon they came out and informed him of the naughty dentist's actions...and then he drove them back to George's. Fin.
Thus no Pickwick Room (and Klaus Voormann does not remember them being there that night), no Ad-Lib, no George driving home at 18 mph, etc. etc., though this narrative does still leave room for submarine based antics. However, stacked up against the fact that Alf would have been the only one not tripping, and therefore possibly slightly better placed to recall veraciously, it must be said that John, Cynthia, George and Pattie all broadly agreed on the events of that evening in their various recollections - and their version is backed up by Ringo, who remembers them appearing at the Ad-Lib, and Riley's girlfriend Cyndy Bury, the only other person present at the dinner party itself. So it's yet another odd one. Which should be no big surprise by now. (And what does it matter?)
Great photo, though.

Kenwood: drawing room, 1965 part 1 - harp.

The actual harp lithograph, that used to actually hang in the actual drawing room at Kenwood, as sold at Christie's in August 1991, by the actual Cynthia Lennon.

Kenwood: piano.

As an addendum to Marijke's comments, it is now possible to analyse the sunroom piano, a source of some fascination round these parts, in a bit more detail. It's a pity that no decent photos of it are in circulation - though, of course, at least it still actually exists. The best look at the thing currently available comes, as we have seen, from the EPK for George's final album. As Marijke makes clear, the left hand panel represents John (Justice-Libra), and the right hand panel is for Cynthia (the Hermit-Virgo). It's hard to make out Cynthia's side due to the poor quality of the only available source, namely the Kenwood home movie from mid-June, 1968. However that does seem to be a lantern-wielding figure, above two Adam and Eve like individuals. The central panel represents the four seasons - though possibly not in the order I have them here. Again, it's difficult to see exactly what's on there, but I'm guessing autumn (fall) winds (notwithstanding that they could equally well belong to winter). In any case, this piano is an artefact nonpareil from the high summer of 1967 at Kenwood. And I'd still like to know how it ended up at George's.

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Marijke Koger-Dunham: interview.

Marijke Koger, as she was then, was one quarter of the Fool; a good friend and associate of all the Beatles throughout 1967 and 1968, she spent time at Kenwood both socially, and in order to paint the piano that ended up in the sunroom (posts passim - and the above pic, of course). Marijke Koger-Dunham, as she is now, has very kindly agreed to answer some questions from me about that period, her time at Kenwood, and her association with John...so here we go.

KenwoodLennon: How did you meet John?

Marijke: Mal Evans, the Beatles' roadie, brought John and Paul over to our house in St. Stephens Gardens one evening. They blew their minds over the paintings, designs and particularly the painted wardrobe which was later used in the film "The Wonderwall", and that night sowed the seed for the Apple store and the beginning of a friendship. John and Paul later brought George and Ringo over.

KL: How many times (roughly) were you at Kenwood? What were your impressions of the place - did John give you the grand tour? Could you describe a typical get-together at Kenwood at that time? (Feel free to be circumspect, if necessary!)

Marijke: Several times, don't remember specifically. It was a big, rather somber house, accentuated by a figure in full armor on the staircase. The garden was large and nice though. John had an original gypsy wagon stationed there and one day, while we were playing ball with Julian in the garden, I suggested to John he paint his Phantom rolls that way. He thought it was a splendid idea and had it done by the same gypsies. That job has often been relegated as done by The Fool but this is not the case. We were free to roam the house, John not being the kind to give a guided tour. A typical get together consisted of having tea, a joint and conversation about music, art, recent events etc. Sometimes a side trip to visit Ringo or George.

KL: How long did it take to paint the piano? What was your daily routine at Kenwood during this time?

Marijke: Simon and I stayed at Kenwood for about a week to paint the piano and slept in a room that contained John's old school memorabilia. We'd get up around 8 AM and have breakfast with John in the den, prepared by the housekeeper, a very handsome middle aged lady, and went to work for the rest of the day. For meals special consideration was given to my vegetarianism. John was a gracious host.

KL: What was your design for the piano based upon? How did you approach doing it (ie was there a detailed plan)? Do you know how it ended up in George's possession? Did you do any other painting/work for John?

Marijke: Having a free hand to do whatever struck our fancy, I drew the design directly on to the white primered surface before applying color. The design was based on my interest in the Tarot symbolism and depicted the four seasons, John (Justice=Libra) and Cynthia's (the Hermit=Virgo) birthcards and the keys were painted in the specific colors assigned to the notes according to the Tarot: C=Red, C#-Db=Vermillion, D=Orange, D#-Eb=Chrome yellow, E=Yellow, F=Chartreuse, F#-Gb=Green, G=Turquoise, G#-Ab=Blue, A=Purple, B=Violet, B#-Ab=Magenta, B=Carmine.
I have no idea how it ended up with George.
I designed/made several costumes for John, (with my friend and co-Fool Josha) including the coat and shirt he wore during the "All you need is Love" broadcast and the multi-colored coat he wore in the film "Magical Mystery Tour". Of course he was also very instrumental in supporting all the painting and designing work done for Apple by way of the exterior and interior murals, clothes lines for men, women and children and posters of our paintings.
The slogan "A is for Apple" on the Apple poster was John's idea.

KL: You mentioned the All You Need Is Love broadcast; were you present at any other recording sessions with the Beatles? If so, can you remember for which songs?

Marijke: The "All you need is Love" broadcast was a wonderful event attended by many friends. I was also present at the "A Day in the Life" party at Abbey Road. There is some footage wherein I am dancing with sparkles. We were invited to many other regular sessions during the Sgt. Pepper recordings. During the making of the film "The Wonderwall" George took us in to record the Fool's original music (improvisations) for some tracks of that movie.

KL: Were the pictures taken in the sunroom of you, Simon and John taken at the same time as the ones of George and Ringo? What are your memories of that day? Do you remember when exactly (or even roughly) these photos were taken?

Marijke: Those pictures were taken during the period we painted the piano, there was an American lady who took the pictures and interviewed John for a magazine. Ringo and George were not there that day.

KL: Another theory of mine down the toilet! That means those photos must have been taken either late June or early July 1967. OK, moving on...can you remember any specific conversations with John?

Marijke: We were at Kenwood when the news came of Brian Epstein's death. John was stunned of course. We had some conversation about life and death and life after death at that time.

KL: Were you at the famous Sgt Pepper party at Brian Epstein's country house Kingsley Hill? What are your memories of that day if so?

Marijke: Yes, all four of the Fool were at that party. There were a lot of people and many banners proclaiming "Safe as Milk". This was to offset any bad thoughts people might get on their magic trip. By request of George I had to come to the rescue of Derek Taylor who was having a bad trip in spite of these precautions. There was a lot of dancing with flowers and hugging. Not much eating or drinking. It was a spiritual event.

KL: When was the last time you saw John?

Marijke: The last time I saw John was in Los Angeles (where I have lived since late 1968). It was at a party at the house (or should I say palace) of the owner of the Record Plant recording studio, Gary Kellgren around 1972/73. He was glad to see Simon and me but as the night wore on became very drunk. It was not a happy period in John's life.

KL: Could you bring us up to date with what you are doing these days?

Marijke: Much of the work I have done over the last 3 decades by way of murals, fashions, paintings/graphics etc. can be viewed on my website:
and many of my paintings are available, also as prints from:
I still paint canvases, graphics and an occasional instrument but physically can not do murals any longer as they involve a lot of ladder and scaffold climbing.
I live on a small ranch in Los Angeles with my husband (a musician: www.myspace.com/blackcatrockandroll as well as an attorney) and horses, who are my passion.

Fascinating stuff! Many thanks indeed to Marijke for these memories, and to Joe Baiardi for the latest caravan pic. I wonder what magazine that interview with the American lady would have been in...hmmm. (The road goes ever onwards...)

Kenwood: 1965 (& Manchester 1963) - nuff panda.

Another slight variation (it's all in the fingers, don't you know) of the familiar shot of John, somewhere in Kenwood in 1965, with panda. Plus the earliest sighting of the grate beast - 20 November 1963, backstage at the ABC Cinema, Manchester. (This was the show filmed by Pathe for their newsreel The Beatles Come To Town, which you will doubtless have seen). Presumably the panda was a gift from a fan, and quickly commandeered by John to be taken home for Julian. Thanks to Glenn Marteney for the first photo.

Monday, 24 August 2009

Kenwood: 1913 part 3.

Another section of the original plan, showing the roof (the more eagle-eyed among you may have been able to spot that). Evidently the front attic window was there from the start. Note too the stamp in the bottom right-hand corner - final proof that Kenwood is not a Tarrant house. The precise layout and look of the attic during the Lennon-era is another mystery; in contemporary interviews, John mentioned a room that was randomly painted in different colours - according to when his various pots of paint ran out. In 1966, the Beatles Book monthly reported this: "Anyone who has visited John's home will no doubt be impressed by his music room. It is situated at the top of the house, and its decor is a multi-coloured effort by John. Amplifiers, guitars, organ, piano, juke boxes - you name it he's got it. Everything is littered all over the place". Yet the June '67 music room photos don't show multi-coloured walls. Beatles chauffeur Alf Bicknell also lived with John at Kenwood for a while in 1966, occupying a "flat" in John's house - which must have been the attic rooms, other than the music room. Plans, I fear, are lost to history. UPDATE - as it turns out, that is more bollocks. See later Ken Partridge plan related posts...

Kenwood: December 1968 (& August 1967).

It is hard to say exactly where a lot of the December '68 shots were taken, beyond "somewhere in the grounds". However this photo, one of a number of similar variants, is pin-downable (if that is even a word); namely, directly outside the sunroom, looking towards the dining room. You can see those distinctive stripes (and the dining room window), also evident in the August '67 shots. (I wouldn't bet on it, of course, but that bit of Kenwood seems to have survived intact from 1913 to the present day, too).

Sunday, 23 August 2009

Yet more Sunny Heights: February, 1967.

This one is new to me, and "triumvirate" was a stupid word to use in any case; so, John on or about the back porch at Sunny Heights. Thanks Bruno for another great photo.

Saturday, 22 August 2009

Sunny Heights: 28 February, 1967.

Completing a triumvirate of Sunny Heights related shots, here is John plus lion looking archetypally other-worldly in February 1967, shortly before heading to studio 2 at EMI to begin work on Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds (assuming the above date is correct, that is). The military band tunic was later taken to New York, before being donated to the Salvation Army by John and Yoko in 1977. The man who collected it also managed to acquire it, with his manager's approval ("Jammy bas" to use the vernacular), and it has subsequently appeared at auction. Many thanks to Glenn Marteney for the Sunny pics. I'm afraid I've lost track of who sent one or two of the auction shots - but thanks whoever you are.

Sunny Heights: 1968 part 2 - in!

A splendid shot of Ringo inside Sunny Heights in 1968, getting on for the end of the White Album sessions, again judging by hair, not to mention ruffle. As can be seen: Ringo's lava lamp is of a different hue to John's. He has this photo on display on the left hand window-sill. He was known to enjoy an inflatable Pluto from time to time. And yes, the poodle is present and correct. (Are there any photos of Ringo inside Sunny Heights which don't feature either children or poodles?) Merci Bruno Dupont for sharing this one.

Sunny Heights: 1968 part 1 - oot!

Judging by the hair, this is circa White Album. Not a happy time, and not a particularly happy Ringo by the looks of things. John (when not telling them to "Sod Off" or sending Julian to tell them to "Sod Off"), Paul and even George (though as likely to dispense a lecture as an autograph)(and woe betide anyone who touched his tulips, messed with his marigolds, or bothered his errr...begonias) would sometimes open the door to fans and be fairly amenable. Ringo, though usually happy to send an autograph out (with peace and love), generally refused (presumably also with peace and love) to come to the door and indulge in jibber-jabber with the "fannage". (Apparently). Not in the case illustrated above, however, captured outside the front door of Sunny Heights. Many thanks to Joe Baiardi for these candid pics.

Thursday, 20 August 2009

Kenwood: 1913 part 1.

On May 1st 1913, architect Theophilus A Allen submitted his plan for "Proposed House For Norman H Johnson Esq At St Georges Hills" to the Walton-on-Thames Urban Council for planning approval....and here, following a couple of months rummaging around various Home Counties archives, is the part depicting the ground floor area. What the plan shows is not only pre-Kenwood, but also pre-Brown House - the name eventually given to this inaugural incarnation.
The first thing you notice is how much smaller it was originally - the whole north-west section, which is what one pictures most readily when Kenwood comes up in everyday conversation (err...), simply didn't exist then: So no sunroom, no left-hand extension, and only one of those distinctive Hansel and Gretel windows. These days it's easy to forget that this is actually the back of the house - not a mistake you'd have made in 1913.
The next thing that is apparent is the way the ground floor has been divided up: On the one hand you have the servants' areas, namely the servants' hall, the kitchen, the pantry, the coal room (every room had a coal burning fireplace in those pre-central heating days), the scullery, the knives and boots room(!) and the fenced off yard. On the other hand there were the three grand rooms for the master of the house - the study, the drawing room and the dining room. And rarely the twain would meet. It's interesting that in the 50 or so years separating Norman H Johnson from John W Lennon, this type of segregation, as reflected in the room layout, had largely disappeared. Although John employed a housekeeper, a gardener and a chauffeur, none of them were live-in: The servants in Mr Johnson's time would have lived in the attic.
I've wasted yet another half hour of my life crudely altering one of Joe Baiardi's back yard pics from 2008 to give a rough idea of how this end of Kenwood might have been back then. Again, judging by the lack of windows on the plan, it would appear the back of the house was strictly functional, and somewhat inelegant - in marked contrast to the eccentric charm of the rest. Whatever, this is fascinating stuff, and I'll be posting the other portions of Mr Allen's work in due course.

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Kenwood: caravan, circa 1967/1968.

Another very evocative fan photo, showing the caravan perched near the bottom of the garden at Kenwood, sometime in 1967 or early '68. As we have just seen, it was still there during Richard Hall's visit, which took place in spring 1968 judging by John's appearance. The caravan was at Kenwood for roughly a year in total, before being moved out to Dorinish shortly after John took up with Yoko, and thence to the bottom of the Irish Sea, if infallible rumour be. Many thanks to Joe Baiardi for this one.

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Kenwood visit: spring 1968 - part 2.

We left Richard Hall (who took the above pic) and wife Maureen standing outside the open front door of Kenwood; here's what happened next...

At this point the elation and expectation previously experienced began to wain as I visualised the housekeeper returning to tell us "Mr Lennon is in Australia/Canada/London/Bangkok (BUT WE SAW HIM UPSTAIRS SHAVING!!!) Then - the door was opened - no housekeeper - no maid - through that door and into our presence walked John Lennon and right behind him was Julian. He shook our hands and said hello and what was very noticeable about him was the manner in which he maintained his presence, his body, between us and Julian. He was obviously nervous and anxious that no harm should come to his son - that is really one of the points that has stayed with myself and Maureen all this time. After about five minutes when it became obvious that we offered no threat to Julian or to himself - it was like a great weight had been lifted from his shoulders and he totally relaxed and invited us to walk around the garden with him and Julian. One of the questions he asked me was "Were The Beatles really as popular, really as good as the press said?" I assured him that they were. We only hear what our press guys tell us, he said - and sometimes you can't believe a word they say. At this time I had an 8 X 10 Black and white photo of John that I had taken when we gatecrashed a press conference at the Gruge Hall in Essen in 1965 and I asked him to sign it for me. Just as he was about to sign the photo I said to him - Just sign it LENNON - no John, - No To, No From - Just LENNON. "So" he said - "you're the little sh** who calls me Lennon". (I had written to him many times (never got a reply) and in all my letters I never said Dear John or in the middle of a letter I never said John - I always referred to him as Lennon - example - I would say now listen Lennon - drop me a line - get someone to write it for you - You know Lennon - you are loved and admired by so many people - take care of yourself ~Lennon - many people love you - things like that I would put in my letters - but I would never refer to him as John - Always Lennon. "So" I said - "you get the letters then". Oh yes he replied but there are so many - far too many sometimes to reply to but I do remember a few that always called me Lennon - they were obviously from you. The ball point pen refused to write on the glossy photo and so he leaned extra hard and actually etched his signature on to the photo. A lady at Christie's told us that this 'etching' was actually better than a signature as it will never fade. In order to see the signature you must hold the photo at an angle and let the light glance on the etching and then you can see - nothing but the word - Lennon. What is great about it is -I took the photo - no one else has a copy of it - signed or unsigned. After he had signed the photo and I had returned it to its folder John showed us the Gypsy Caravan belonging to Julian which was psychedelically painted by the person who had painted his Rolls Royce I admired his garden - Not down to me he replied - I know nothing about gardens - speak to George - he's the garden expert. At one point I introduced Maureen and Renate - Maureen was O.K. - she shook hands and said hello and told him he was very generous to spend this time with us. As for Renate - Renate naturally spoke fluent German and she also spoke fluent Oxford Class English but on this day - she could speak neither. The poor young girl was simply gob-smacked being so near to one of her idols. She just spluttered and splattered and could not utter one word - neither in English or German. We had been with him now for more than half an hour and at this point Maureen said to him "Would it be possible for me to have a souvenir of our visit please?". O.K. he said as he turned and went back into the house. I said to Maureen - You must be joking - The man has given us his time - what more could you want to remind you of this day? I won't forget today for as long as I live. You know, said Maureen - he might give me an ash tray, a tea cup, a saucer, an empty flower vase - something small just to remember him by. The Mind boggles was all I could say. John returned from the house holding a small bronze statuette which he gave to Maureen, saying 'Would you like this? As Maureen took the statuette from him I could clearly see the word
V E L L O inscribed around the base. Maureen let me hold the statue and I saw that the base had the inscription A N I V O R N O V E L L O A W A R D inscribed around it. There was a small metal plate with the inscription 'John Lennon' She's Leaving Home 1967' I held the statue out to him and said - Lennon - you can't give her this - you won this for your music - it's yours - you should keep it. He took the statue from me and gave it back to Maureen - 'Look, he said - it's only gathering dust inside the house and if she would like it - let her keep it" Maureen clasped the statue to her and there was no way she was going to part with it - it was hers. Thank you, Thank you John she said. I then took a photo of Maureen and John together with him handing the statue to Maureen. I took another photo of Renate and John together (That photo was later published in the Bravo magazine - a sort of German NME.) John, as you can see is wearing a white kaftan and Maureen has always commented on the crease in his slacks - me being in the Army - a crease in your slacks is noticed. Maureen took a photo of me and John but her hands shook so bad that it didn't come out. The photos were taken on a Rolleiflex 120 camera - which I still have though I have moved on to a NIKON Digital now. After leaving Kenwood we drove down to Ringo's house - about 200 yards away - Ringo was home but he wouldn't come out - he did sign Maureen's passport though (the currency exchange page) with "To Maureen with Love---Ringo Starr". It was a great day - one I will remember all my life.

Amazing stuff, I'm sure you'll agree. Once again, a great deal of gratitude goes to Richard for being so generous with his memories, not to mention setting it all down in such touching fashion. Cheers Richard.

Kenwood visit: spring 1968 - part 1.

The man who took this photo, Richard Hall, has very kindly written with the fascinating story of that day. Here is part 1:

At that time I was serving with the Army in Germany. My brother (younger than me and a Rolling Stones fan) was going to be married. His wife to be was from a place called Middle Wallop in Hampshire and they were to be married in Andover. Myself and my wife Maureen were naturally invited and my brother said it was O.K to bring along our young German friend - Renate (this is pronounced Renata). Renate lived just a few hundred metres from us in Hildesheim in Germany and she was a big Beatles fan. We drove to Ostend and from there caught the ferry to Dover. Back then there was no motorway from Dover to London, no M25 and very few Little Chef Rest Stops. In order to get to Andover it was possible to either travel south via Sussex and then into Hampshire or, Travel north, get on to the North Circular Road (this would be replaced by the M25) get on to the A30 and carry on to Andover. Going through Sussex had only one disadvantage - you would be miles and miles away from Weybridge in Surrey - whereas by going north and getting on to the A30 you would wind up going right past Weybridge - Decisions Decisions Decisions - No decision - no mind making up - No problem - We are going North - but not to Alaska. We drove around the outskirts of London and at Staines we turned off the A30 and headed for Weybridge - what an absolute beautiful part of England. It was not too difficult finding St George's Hill and what really surprised me was that there was no security on the gate entering St George's Hill Estate. At that time I owned a white Simca 1000. I had been involved in an accident (no other vehicles involved) I skidded on some black ice and turned the vehicle upside down - that's another story. Any way I had to have one of the doors replaced - back then - you couldn't buy a vehicle door of any colour - all doors were black and had to be painted at a later date. My replaced door was still black and there were some bad scratches and dents on other parts of the car also - this information will become relevant later. As we drove on through St George's Hill - I didn't have a clue which house would be John Lennon's. Fortunately we met a lady who was walking her two small Scottish Terriers. I stopped and asked her "Excuse me please - could you tell me please, - where does John Lennon live?" She turned to me and said - "Oh Mr Lennon - he lives just around that corner there (as she pointed along the road ahead of us) His house is on the left - you will see it from the road - it is on a hill" "Many thanks" I said - 'You're welcome' the lady replied and we drove on. As we drove around the corner we could indeed see John's house on the left. On arrival at the gate, which was open, I proceeded to turn the car into the drive when Maureen said "STOP" Why?? I asked. "Dick" she said - "you are not driving this crap Simca 1000 with a black door, dents and scratches and in need of a paint-job - in through John Lennon's gate and on to his driveway - you will park the car OUTSIDE the gate". So I parked the car outside the gate and we left the car and began to walk up the drive - a slight hill towards the house. I needn't tell you that at this point my heart was pounding like mad at the thought - the hope the dream of meeting him (even now as I relate that day - the excitement can be relived). As we drew nearer to the house, all three of us noticed someone in an upstairs room - shaving. It was John Lennon - it really was. My God he's home. He's inside - we're going to see him. But - and there is always a but - you must go through the correct ritual in situations like this. I approached the door (this is at the back of the house) and pressed the doorbell. The door was opened by the housemaid who looked at us and asked "Yes?" I looked at her and said "I was wondering if Mr Lennon is home please" 'I will go and see' she replied as she turned around and went back into the house, leaving the door slightly ajar...

Part 2 to follow. Huge thanks to Richard for taking the time and trouble to share this.

Monday, 17 August 2009

Sunny Heights: summer, 1965.

A photo which apparently shows Sunny Heights shortly after being purchased by Ringo in 1965; renovation is clearly underway. Mr Starkey, in common with John at Kenwood, spent a tidy sum altering the property. According to Wikipedia, that fount of all knowledge, the "lovable drumming nose" bought it from a Mr H.E.Pope, who in turn had been the one to bestow the name Sunny Heights (actually Sunny Heights II, after the house that the Pope family were evacuated to in Amberley during the Second World War). Sunny Heights was originally called Haleakala, presumably after the Hawaiian volcano. Many thanks to Sara for sending this one.

Thursday, 13 August 2009

Kenwood: dining room?

Having obsessively picked apart Joe Baiardi's Kenwood video, the only bit left now is the second pic here. Assuming this was shot in the dining room, then that would tend to confirm the hypothesis that the pic with Cynthia and Julian was also taken there - that doorway looks identical to me. However, the wall clearly isn't identical, which is possibly down to renovation, and, equally, possibly not. Until a complete set of plans from the Lennon era turns up, all this amounts to nothing more (or less) than havering, which is a polite Scottish word for what it amounts to.

Laudate: part 2.

When John got back from India, he was in a bit of a state. The story of the night he visited Derek Taylor at Laudate, concerning all that shattering and putting back together again of the ego malarkey, can be found here. However, I had never seen a ground level photo of the "Japanese" style house itself before. This, though, is it, apparently. The odd and rather ramshackle looking building featured on the cover of Bronco's Country Home album. Many thanks to Demitri Robinson, whose dad happened to be a member of that very combo, for sending this.

Monday, 10 August 2009

Kenwood & Kinfauns: bumper stickers.

Another vaguely interesting example of The Beatles oft-commented-upon "group mind" has arisen, in the form of this fan shot of George at Kinfauns. The Safe As Milk and Monterey Pop bumper stickers are very familiar from the sunroom cabinets (note also: Another one (or possibly one of the same ones) attached to the back wall of the sunroom in the Cynthia pic). However, it seems that George too had these same stickers - in his case appended to the front door of Kinfauns. A fair guess would be that they came as a job lot via Derek Taylor, who was closely involved with both the Monterey Pop festival and Captain Beefheart, and were probably given to John and George during his visit to England in May 1967. (Although the festival itself didn't take place until June, promotional materials would have been in circulation by May). Or not, of course. It's also vaguely interesting how often accounts of the sunroom mention the Safe As Milk stickers as something else entirely - eg Milk Is Good For You, Milk Is Harmless etc, despite the fact that the photo of John ensconced on the couch in June 1967, Safe As Milk stickers prominent to his rear, is one of the most widely circulated sunroom artifacts; proof of something or other to do with memory/pisspoor research. (The George pic via Meet The Beatles For Real - link under Friends & Neighbours).

Sunday, 9 August 2009

Kenwood: underview.

Following on from the preceding post, some shots of sections of the grounds at Kenwood. The garden is something of a horticulturalist's playground, and John employed a full time caretaker to look after the various flora, which include holly, red oak, ash, Lawson cypress, laurel and western red cedar trees.