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, 25 June 2010

Kenwood caravan: somewhere in Ireland.

A fascinating pair of photos, showing the Kenwood caravan in transit from Dorinish to Tittenhurst (probably)(see posts passim). One of John's haulage contractors, a Mrs Brunt, can be seen perched on the titular vehicle.
It's another bit of the jigsaw - but where is the final piece? Where is the bloody thing now? Eh, Ringo?
Many thanks to Dennis Toll.

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Abbey Road: AKG D19c - then & now.

Just a little addition to the Mellotron post/comments (and a slightly unusual then & now shot); being fortunate enough to attend a session at Abbey Road a while back, I was shown some of the microphones that remain there from the '60s (ie those not sold/chucked in a skip/etc).
Off the top of my head, I'd say these are AKG D19cs (I jest - I identified them with the help of the weighty Recording The Beatles tome, a veritable pornucopia (if you will) of vintage gear).
The mics are kept in a little room off the corridor running outside Studio 2, and staff assured me that these very ones were used on many Beatles recordings. An example of the AKG D19c in situ can be seen in the photo of John getting wiggy on Richie's traps during the AYNIL rehearsal.

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Kenwood: living/drawing room, 1965.

Not very revealing, but another verifiable Kenwood pic all the same, from the large living/drawing room, in 1965. You can just about see one of the lithographs in the background:

Connisseurs of trivia may note that the couches in the drawing room, chosen by Ken Partridge, were, apparently, fantastically uncomfortable. They were eventually given to Ringo for use at Montagu Square, though presumably not as a punitive measure.

Sunday, 20 June 2010

Kenwood: Mellotron action.

John's Mellotron, acquired in 1965, and which originally sat on the half-landing leading up to the attic (see Joe Baiardi's Kenwood video, where he passes the very spot at 5:48), is familiar from his home demos (Pedro the Fisherman et al). The amusing film on the left features a Mark II model, of the type that John had, and similar to the one used on Strawberry Fields. (That wasn't John's Kenwood Mellotron, however, but another hired Mark II; EMI eventually bought their own in 1968, the slightly different "FX" model.) Only around 2-300 of the Mark IIs were ever manufactured, mainly because of the huge cost - in modern money, roughly £13,000 each. Anyone who has wasted half an hour listening to John's attic noodlings will instantly recognise the Mellotron stylings of the two gents in this film (and if it doesn't, at least, raise a smile, then seek medical attention).
Finally, here is a page from the Mark II operating manual, explaining just what all those knobs and switches do:

From this, we can deduce that in the first pic above, John was captured varying the pitch up (or down), meaning that he could "strike the same notes and play in a different key!"
Enthralling stuff.
(By the way, notice that one of John's Rhythm Fill knobs seems to have fallen off...what is it with John and his knobs? As anyone familiar with Andy Babiuk's rather wonderful Beatles' Gear book will know, John also had a problem keeping the knobs on his Rickenbacker 325.) (That's enough about John's knobs - ed.)

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

From Emperor's Gate to Weybridge: ca. July, 1964.

These pics show John and Cyn (and Paul) outside Emperor's Gate, purportedly on the very day that the Lennons moved from there to Kenwood. That's the story, anyway - and the photos must date from around that time, at least. If so, it seems an acoustic guitar was the last man out.

John only occupied the 4th floor flat at Emperor's Gate for around 9 months, under the name "Hadley" (a spectacularly unsuccessful attempt to put the "kids" off his trail). Kenwood was the third house on St George's Hill that the Hadleys viewed (I wonder what the other two were), and must have initially seemed so secluded as to be unfindable by Ver Fanz. Oh dear.

UPDATE: The eagle-eyed db noted in comments that these pics were posted back to front - so they have now been corrected. It's unclear if the car interior shots above were also the wrong way round, but I've assumed they were, and done them too. Thus, a "then and now" shot becomes possible (I couldn't see it before, for obvious reasons (related to my idiocy)); John's block has been demolished, and replaced by office buildings:

Sunday, 13 June 2010

Hamburg: Eimsbütteler Strasse 45a - then & now.

The top floor Kirchherr family flat provided a home-away-from-hovel for the Beatles when they first went to Hamburg; and Stuart, of course, eventually moved in full time, partly at the request of Astrid's mother, who was fairly appalled by tales of the less than salubrious quarters provided by their employer. Stu had his own bedroom, and the attic was turned into a painting studio - something initially copied by John at Kenwood:

As previously noted, John requested a then & now shot from Astrid after Stuart's death, and the resulting images are the most haunted of the tens of thousands that were to follow. Here is the original Stuart shot, and John's tribute, together with the same spot (after much renovation) from 2006:

The photo of John alone on that chair, hands tightly clasped and clearly lost in sad reflective thought, is probably the most intimate image of the man ever seen (and that includes Two Virgins). It's hard not to recall his scribblings to Stuart, "I can't remember anything without a sadness so deep that it hardly becomes known to me. So deep that its tears leave me a spectator of my own STUPIDITY":

Bummer. What's cheering, however, is that Mark Lewisohn, who has generously allowed me to post these pics, is planning a website to display the vast amount of material that he has gathered over the last 30 years or so. Being Mark, he has had access to places that the rest of us can only salivate over, as his shots of Astrid's old attic attest. Here, lastly, is the view from the window:

Many thanks to Mark for letting us see these most interesting photos.

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Wapping Pier Head: then & then (& now).

There's little doubt that the (then) crumbling post-colonial splendour of Wapping Pier Head served the Beatles well; as (albeit unintended) visual metaphors go, this one is hard to whack. So I was happy to discover, with the help of Julian Carr, that the London Metropolitan Archive is stuffed with vintage images of the area; the most relevant ones have been cherry picked here, but they are all fantastically evocative.
Anyway, above and below is the concrete bed, at which the waters of the "mighty" Thames lap, and upon which John played dead that July evening in 1968 (the LMA image dates from 1981):

This area used to be the Wapping Entrance, missus, to London Docks, but was closed and filled in sometime in early 1968; several vintage images of its "pre-Fab" incarnation are to be found online; for example HERE, and here in this shot from the 1890s showing Victorian river rozzers at work:

John, of course, was shortly to have his own spot o' bother with the land-lubbing variety, for reasons that possibly explain his posture in this one:

Just along the road is the t-junction where Sampson Street meets Wapping High Street; the first location used during this portion of the Mad Day Out. The LMA have the Colonial Wharves warehouse from 1971, and a photo of Sampson Street from 1949, presumably showing the effects of the blitz. Whether this building was still there in 1968, I don't know, but Sampson Street is to the right of Ringo:

...and the same spot today, the warehouses long since demolished; all that now remain are the cobblestones (and possibly the lamp-posts) on the High Street:

Back to the Pier Head itself, and two shots from 1968, with the West Quay in the background:

Again, the wall of the West Quay, at the foot of the concrete bed, was where Paul famously arsed around with the chains previously used to close the dock entrance; this LMA photo also dates from 1968 - but the chains (not to mention Paul) are nowhere to be seen:

Finally, a picture from 1971:

The whole area, though a little bushier (and weren't they all?), pretty much unchanged in the intervening period:

So, there we have it. Grateful thanks are again due to Julian Carr for his picture research, to the good offices of the City of London: London Metropolitan Archive for permission to use their pics; and to The Beatles' London for detailed Mad Day Out shizzle.

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Kenwood: wake-up calls, 1967.

A couple of snapshots of life at Kenwood, circa 1967. House-guests recall that by the "Summer o' Lovin'™", John and Cynthia were leading largely separate lives. She would take care of Julian, and go out on the town in the company of Terry Doran (and, apparently, her hairdresser, causing those tongues to start a wagging, as tongues are wont to do).
He, when not on Beatle business, would generally turn night into day in the company of Pete Shotton, playing Risk, listening to "discs", huffing gas (or some-such) etc. And so to these; a pair of scribbled requests for a wake-up call, currently on display at the Hard Rock Cafe, and amazing it is too that such ephemera should have survived.
Above, on the rear of an Indica gallery envelope ("Pete" almost certainly refers to the aforementioned Mr Shotton, who had the supermarket on Hayling island to run), and below: Terry = the also aforementioned Mr Doran, Paul = Paul, "Antony" = Les Anthony (or maybe it is Antony)...
However (and leaving macabre coincidence to one side), who was Mr Chapman? The gardener? Possibly.

Saturday, 5 June 2010

Poole: upgrade and "ting".

Local wizard Derek B has sprinkled his fairydust over the above image, and the results are pretty fantastic; for those who may not know (nor care), the picture originally appeared in Mojo, but was, unfortunately, unevenly spread over two pages, and overlaid with writing and visual garbage... which explains the fact that it is usually seen with only the right hand portion present, as that bit was relatively undespoiled (and also the pretty useless patch-job previously attempted on these pages). But here it now is in pristine hi-res.
He also, for the hell of it, went down to the ferry and got an exact match:

The booth is actually very close to (the former site of) Mimi's house on Panorama Road; in fact, just round the corner:

Muchas gracias Derek.

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Kenwood: more June 29, 1967.

Another shot from June 29 rears its head, and a fine example too; John in a north-western corner of the grounds at Kenwood, fondling a pot plant (not for the first or last time, I'll bet). The photo comes from a February '68 feature in TeenSet magazine, which has a few other Kenwood piccies, though all those others have been seen before. This one of the attic likewise, but here just slightly bigger than the previously posted image:

Anyone familiar with Pete Shotton's memoir will recognise this room as the scene of an Eleanor Rigby inspired altercation; which may well have been what John was recalling in his final PlayBoy interview, when he talked of being hurt by Paul inviting songwriting contributions from whomever happened to be in the room, rather than from John exclusively; which is quite sweet, albeit childish.
Many thanks to Richard Morton Jack for the new pics.

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Tache: yet more ****ing tache.

I have recently been inundated with an email from blog reader Eric Nernie, who writty - "I am f***ing appalled that there hasn't been any t******g-h******z***ing tache on these pages of p********g late, you ****." A quick "flick" through the archive reveals that he may have a c***ing point.
So this had better suffice for a while; Linda "Mc" was, as far as I can see, a fantastic photographer; the above undertache captured at Chapel Street, during the Pepper launch party, in a momentary lapse of Macca:

And why not have these ones too, if only to keep the *u** quiet. The evolution of John's tache, from Zapata to proto-Village People, or "the other way round", will be the subject of a whole new blog, currently in pre-production. Or not. *****. ***s. *!