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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Correspond via: kenwoodlennon@googlemail.com

Friday, 30 April 2010

Yet more tache: May/June, 1967.

It's unusual to see John tached-up sans "grannys". Assuming (possibly wrongly) that these were all taken at the same time, it must have been between May 5 and June 8, for tache-related reasons which have been gone into, in too much detail, already.
One possibility is that they are from the Speakeasy, on either May 24 or the early hours of June 1. Gary Brooker, of Procol Harum, who was playing the Speakeasy on the 24th, doesn't recall the Beatles being there, although it is listed in a lot of the tomes. He spake thusly: "I don't know if they were down the Speakeasy when we played. I only remember Jimi Hendrix being there, so...they could have been sneaking around in the background." Hmmm.
By contrast, members of the Turtles actively recall seeing the Beatles at the Speakeasy on the second date.
Then again, it may well be neither of those (possibly one of the other clubs?). Whatever, whenever and wherever, it's fairly clear that Ringo has slightly overdone it.

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Smedley Fish & Chips: Roman Road, Taunton.

Smedley's chip shop, 15 September 1967, and the same location 43 years later. It's not every day that one's chippy gets a visit from the cast of Magical Mystery Tour; that much, at least, can safely be stated.
The story goes that the proprietors, James and Amy Smedley, were actually the grand-parents of "little" Nicola Yale (or Hale, as she was known), familiar from the film. Mrs Smedley's niece was apparently in charge of recruiting extras, and thus the Smedley-Yale-Hales got embroiled.
If so, then that's possibly Amy Smedley herself on the steps of the Atlantic Hotel in Newquay, judging by the dress:

These days, the chippy is still used for such purposes, being a Chinese takeaway/"fish bar" called the Phoenix, and looking remarkably similar inside:

But what does all this matter, I hear you mutter? Errr...we'll get back to you on that one. Right, Ringo?

Thanks to Eric Nernie for the vintage Smedley's pic.

Friday, 23 April 2010

Hare & Hounds: Churchdown, Gloucestershire.

It turns out not to be Merseyside, but rather Gloucestershire, in the town of Churchdown...and the pub is still there too. This from Mark Lewisohn:
"As some readers of the blog have realised, the photo was taken during Paul and George’s hitch-hiking holiday. I have been sleuthing the day-to-day route of this original mystery tour, summer 1959, for the first volume of my Beatles History trilogy, out in autumn 2011, and this latest piece of the puzzle now drops nicely into place."
I was quite surprised by the number of similar looking pubs called the Hare & Hounds that seem to exist in the north-west and west of England (and Wales too, I dare say).
Anyway, thanks again to all who sent suggestions.

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Hare & Hounds: ???

Mark Lewisohn is wondering if anyone out there can identify the location of this photo. Please leave a comment, or contact me via the header email address with the details if it looks familiar. Thanks.

2 Strathearn Place: the Dental Experience.

There has probably been too much LSD-related shenanigans on these pages of late (Greek chorus: "You think?"). But one thing leads to another...so here's a bit more: The London flat of cosmetic dentist John Riley, as pictured circa 1963, two years before he invited John & George round for dinner/conversation/spiked coffee.
The full story of what happened here has been told many times, but for those seeking an eye-witness account, and a picture of Riley himself, Steve Turner's excellent tome The Gospel According To The Beatles has the details; it includes an interview with Riley's then girlfriend, who was also present that night.
Incidentally, in addition to supplying John, George and spouses with their first acid, Riley also provided the "nosferati" in Polanski's The Fearless Vampire Killers with their teeth, though possibly not on the same evening:

Thanks to Julian Carr for finding the vintage pic of Strathearn Place, and to the City of London, London Metropolitan Archives for permission to use it.

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Sunny Heights: then & now, part 2.

Contemporary views of the master bedroom and en-suite overlooking the distinctive balcony at the rear of the property, together with exterior shots from you know when.
The main drawing room, compared with the Ringo era, is almost unrecognisable these days, with not a lava lamp or inflatable Pluto in sight. The brickwork chimney is long gone too. However, the door leading onto the terrace, where John was famously pictured in proto-Pepper gear, remains:

Saturday, 17 April 2010

Sunny Heights: then & now, part 1.

As we've seen, from behind the house looks much the same as when Ringo lived there. The grounds have been significantly altered, however, with part sold off to provide land for another mansion.
The swimming pool is also new; it's situated on roughly the same spot as this very much tached-up photo:

Inside, the house has inevitably undergone a lot of renovation. But, fairly astonishingly, the none-more-psychedelic painting evident in a couple of Ringo-at-home shots from 1967 is still there:

From this angle, it's evident that it was painted straight onto the wall:

That subsequent owners have chosen to preserve this painting beggars belief, given the general attitude of Sic Transit Gloria Mundi ("Slash & Burn" to you and me) that usually informs renovation on St George's Hill; yet there it is. A small relic of the Beatle Belt abides.
More to follow...

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Cynthia Lennon: interview (& John's response).

An interview from the mid-1970s (click on it for a readable view), covering the Kenwood years. What's of most interest, however, is that not only did John happen to read this article, but he also wrote a riposte to Cynthia (which can be found in Keith Badman's book, Beatles After The Breakup):
"Dear Cynthia,
As you and I well know, our marriage was long over before the advent of LSD or Yoko Ono, and that's the reality! Your memory is impaired, to say the least. Your version of our first LSD trip is rather vague. And you seem to have forgotten subsequent trips altogether. You also seem to have forgotten that, only two years ago, while I was separated from Yoko Ono, you suddenly brought Julian to see me after three years of silence. During this visit, you didn't allow me to be alone with him for one moment. You even asked me to remarry you and or give you another child for Julian's sake. I politely told you no, and that anyway I was still in love with Yoko (which I thought was very down to earth). There were no detectives sent to Italy. Our mutual friend Alex Mardas went to Bassanini's hotel to see how you were, as you said you were too ill to come home. Finally, I don't blame you for wanting to get away from your Beatles past, but if you are serious about it, you should try to avoid talking to and posing for magazines and newspapers. We did have some good years, so dwell on them for a change, and as Dylan says, it was "a simple twist of fate."
Love and good luck to you from the three of us,
Of course, it's impossible not to feel some sympathy for Cynthia. But it's also interesting to see John get a right of reply, and challenge one or two of her oft-repeated gripes. Quite a good little pun there at the end, too.

Monday, 12 April 2010

Kenwood: bottle.

Due to the media frenzy, details of the find have been removed at the request of the photographer. Apologies.
However, some more information concerning the bottle has come to light. An expert in these matters dates it to the 1930s or 1940s. The monogram on the base will probably represent either the bottle maker, or the manufacturer of whatever the bottle originally contained; the hunt is still on to pin that down precisely.
Apparently, it is not uncommon to find buried groups of bottles in these circumstances...all of which neither rules in nor out the Lennon connection.

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Kenwood: autograph, circa 1965.

An interesting lot from a sale at Christie's New York, in December 2006. It's a signed copy of In His Own Write, obtained by the seller during a visit to Kenwood in the company of Brian Epstein. Note the dedication - "To Diz"; unconfirmed rumour has it that said seller was none other than Brian's notorious inamorato John "Diz" Gillespie.
(Credit to Eppylover for originally unearthing this.)