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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Saturday, 7 November 2009

Kenwood: living/drawing room, part 1 - world o' shelving.

Whilst it is true that John spent much of his time at Kenwood in either the sunroom, the attic studio, or the bedroom, the impression given by many Beatles books is that the other rooms were never used; which is not true. Cynthia was often to be found in the den, the dining room would be used when the Lennons were entertaining guests - and so would the main living/drawing room. This room is well documented, but the corner to the left of the large fireplace has been a bit of a mystery up to now. What was to be found there? The answer, and I am sure you are going to be astonished by this, was...shelving.
The Beatles Book reports that in June 1967, "on one side of the fireplace were three turntables. On the shelves near the record player were arranged several of John's gold discs". Sure enough, blog reader Eric Nernie has sent in a small picture of the shelves, taken at the end of 1968.
By that point, the living room looked (superficially, at any rate) very different from the John & Cynthia era. When finally vacating the house, Cynthia and her mother emptied the room of all furnishings and decoration. John & Yoko then moved back in, and used the space to house various items previously exhibited by one, other or both of them. The large white disc from the "you are here" exhibition obscured the grand fireplace, which might suggest that Cynthia had also appropriated the colour television previously housed there. The shelving and the "you are here" disc can be glimpsed in the December '68 footage from the living room, on either side of Yoko's white chess set.
The living room dates, of course, from the original construction ca. 1913, and retains a lot of original features - the wooden floor, the roof beams and side panelling were all there in the beginning, and are still there now. The one major bit of renovation occurred, inevitably, in the mid-90s, when the shelving area was demolished and knocked through to construct a parallel entrance, with steps leading up to the front hall:

With the shelving gone, and the fireplace exposed, it is almost impossible to relate the December '68 images of this area to the '06 shots, but nevertheless this is where it was:


  1. You should write a book about Kenwood. It would be definitive ha

  2. It would certainly be interesting, although this blog does tend to ramble on a little too much. I find it particularly dull at times, but when it's good it's good.