Over the gate...

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Thursday, 23 September 2010

Kenwood: gates & ghosts.


The gate at Kenwood, circa 1976, as pictured by Guus Limberger; clearly, light has corrupted the film, giving it an odd, eerie quality. Though Guus took lots of photos, this is the only one that came out.
A couple of points: the heavy sliding gate that John installed was still in use at this point; and the sign that recently appeared for sale on eBay appears to be this one:


During the 70s, Kenwood was owned by the songwriter Bill Martin. A then & now poolside shot can be found on his website HERE. Bill recently appeared on Radio Merseyside talking about his time as owner of the auld pile, and told an interesting  tale relating to the night John died and things that go smash in the night, not that you will find me repeating it here, oh no, not me.
This, o' course, is not the first bit of supernatural gubbins related by a former owner; anyone who read the John H interview on these pages will recall the ghostly bearded man in white who appeared in the attic. And Fred Lennon's then girlfriend Pauline was terrified of the place when she slept there during the latter part of 1967.
Whatever one makes of all this, Bill spins a good yarn; here's hoping he finally writes the memoir he has been threatening for the last few years.
Finally, a more recent Joe Baiardi shot showing the gate, and the buggy originally bought by Bill, which can be seen in the Thames At 6 footage. By this point it had migrated outside the grounds:


Many thanks to Guus and to Joe.

6 comments:

  1. Excellant, as always! I think I'm going to dress up as a psychedelic burglar for Halloween. Thanks for all your great work.

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  2. As always - fascinating. Recently moved my main place of work to Weybridge and drive past one of the entrances (is there more than one ?) to the estate every morning. I can see a gated entry point as I switch my gaze, very briefly at 40 mph, to the slip road. Rather than spend another miserable lunch half hour at my local sandwich place, at some point next week I would like to take a stroll around St George's Hill. What are the chances of that ? Would they allow a besuited, middle aged Beatle freak entry if he promised to behave himself ? I'm guessing the answer is no

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  3. There is more than one entrance. On foot, the answer will almost certainly be nein. However, in a car you have more of a chance; tell them you're going to the golf club. And take a camera.

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  4. I wonder what was on Bill Martin's list? Does he still have it? I would trust so.

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  5. He still has the letter - it will no doubt feature in his book, if/when he writes it. As far as I recall, songs mentioned included Help!, I Am The Walrus, A Day In The Life and Across The Universe, amongst others. From 1965-1967, almost all John's songs were written at Kenwood (and some of Paul's - e.g. Here, There & Everywhere, written beside the pool waiting for John to get up). This is a large part of why I find the place interesting.

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  6. I often think how sad that John even left Kenwood, and how things may have turned out much differently for him and his family if it weren't for other influences.

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