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.


  1. I don't even know what to say. It just hits you in the gut.

  2. I never made the connection.

    oh wow ...

  3. Potent stuff. Do you know the time gap between the photos of Stu and John in the attic?

  4. Impossible to be exact, but the Stuart photo probably sometime in 1961, the John/George photos likely sometime soon after Stuart's death - April/May 1962.

  5. Looking at Astrid's photos, it seems sort of karmic there was someone there to capture this unknown band so artfully. I've often thought.