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*.

(Also available as a blog.)

Legal Blah: This blog is for historical research only, and is strictly non-commercial. All visual and audio material remains the property of the respective copyright owner, and no implication of ownership by me is intended or should be inferred. Any copyright owner who wants something removed should contact me and I will do so immediately. Alternatively, I would be delighted to provide a credit. The writing is by me, such as it is, unless otherwise stated, and this is the only Beatles related blog I am responsible for.

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Friday, 15 January 2010

Kenwood: south and north-west ends.

Another couple of photos from last year, with Schwingin' Shikshtiesh equivalents for comparative purposes. The southern portion of Kenwood, as seen above, is virtually unchanged externally.
The other shot, which shows the sunroom end, pins down one of the locations from the 1965 Robert Whitaker shoot; the same corner of that wall can be seen, now part covered in foliage:

Thursday, 7 January 2010

Cavendish Avenue: music room - February 7, 1967.

Paul may have owned the house at Cavendish Avenue for almost half a century, but he has been fairly canny about allowing pictures of the interior to appear in public. It's instructive that even in the day, he was the only one of them who didn't allow Beatles Book Monthly photographer Leslie Bryce in. And so it has continued - anyone attempting to use Google Street to get a look at the exterior of the place will find it's been removed at JP's request...and fair enough, too (although pictures of the exterior abound).
The most intriguing corner of the house was/is the music room, as those who have read the Hunter Davies biography will attest. That book has a famous section which remains the only vérité account of a Lennon/McCartney songwriting session, for "With A Little Help From My Friends", in (fairly obviously) Paul's music room. There are detailed descriptions of the room in both the Beatles Monthly and the Davies book, but being a little bit older and a little bit slower, I hadn't connected them with these fairly familiar photos of Monkee visiting Beatle on February 7, 1967. However, the ones immediately above and below were taken in that very location, in front of the Paolozzi sculpture (Solo, by name).
The music room was/is on the top floor at the front of the house overlooking the courtyard. Back then, in addition to Solo, it was home to Paul's hand painted piano, broken stereo equipment, records, and a large triptych of Jane Asher. How it looks these days is anyone's guess, but nothing like this (or that) I'm sure:

Three days after these photos were taken, the orchestral session for A Day In The Life took place at Abbey Road, attended by the Monkees, amongst others. Mike Nesmith was staying at Kenwood at this time, having taken John up on a casual invitation made during the Beatles' 1966 tour of the States, much to John's initial displeasure.
These may also have been taken in the music room:

Friday, 1 January 2010

Kenwood: symbols.

Julian has also spotted that the motif on that Kenwood stationary is the same as on the roof of the limo. I seem to recall that the limo symbol was meant to represent John's astrological sign, Libra, in a suitably none-more-1967 fashion. (Balance, not balls, apparently.)
If so, the same with the paper, obviously.

King's Road: a short stroll - May 22, 1968.

The events and chronology pertaining to the beginning of John & Yoko's relationship remain murky, but one thing the tomes seem to agree on is the date of the Two Virgins night at Kenwood: May 19, 1968. Earlier that day, John, still reeling from the previous evening's speed/Mandrax/acid fuelled Messianic meltdown, had convened an emergency meeting at Wigmore Street. The inner circle duly shuffled in, were informed that John was now Jesus...and shuffled out again. Back at Kenwood, John invited Yoko round, and the rest is distorted piano and slowed down bird noises.
Three days later the Beatles hold an afternoon party at Club dell' Aretusa, though only John and George attend. The party is intended to launch the latest Apple retail outlet - Apple Tailoring, a collaboration with 60s fashionisto John Crittle.
The club is situated at 107 King's Road, Chelsea. Here's how it looked then:

It's still a club, though obviously not the same club, and the entrance has been completely redone:

Many photos of this event exist. At one point, John and George were captured deep in conversation, and it's tempting to imagine that John was explaining the new situation vis-a-vis Yoko. Meanwhile, Derek Taylor looks like he is contemplating the best way to deal with the latest shitstorm (something he was going to have to get used to):

Yoko doesn't seem to be present in the photos taken in the club - it's possible she was keeping a low profile, or else came along a bit later. What's sure is that she and John left together, and made the short walk up the King's Road to Apple Tailoring at no. 161, so that John could be pictured outside. The following pic (all these date from either 1970 or 1975) shows the way - past the Chelsea Potter (still there) and the Pant House (sadly, not still there). The site of Apple Tailoring is just outwith the perspective of this pic:

The first picture showing John and Yoko as a bona-fide couple (though few knew it at that point) was captured just past one of the King's Road antique markets. Here's the same spot from across the road a couple of years later:

...and how it looks today:

The Apple Tailoring shop itself, basically a makeover for Crittle's Dandy boutique which had occupied the same site, was in a church building which is still there:

He's not the Messiah - he's a very naughty boy:

A week later sessions for the White Album commenced, and the wheels began to come off.
Many thanks to Julian Carr for finding the old pictures, and taking most of the new ones, and to the City of London, London Metropolitan Archives for permission to use the vintage images of King's Road.