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*.

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Monday, 29 November 2010

Kenwood: 1967 & 2010.

So much time is spent (or wasted) here cataloguing those things that haven't survived the ravages of wealth-related caprice/ blinkered philistinism etc, that it is good to see something which has endured; and good, too, to see a bespoke version of this shot - John's favoured perch still very much there, and, with the obvious exception of the sunroom, so is more or less everything else...apparently. Thanks to Joe Baiardi (for it is he), and more to come on this theme, if theme it be.

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Kenwood: and its "environs", 2010.

Mr Brilig, an occasional leaver of amusing comments round these parts, recently found himself on business in the environs of St George's Hill, and couldn't resist a quick visit to the threshold of the titular pile (well, who can, whenever the opportunity arises?). He also couldn't resist firing up the auld "video" recorder, and... well, recording his progress through the lanes around Kenwood:

This may be of little consequence to anyone, but it's worth bearing in mind that these roads have changed little in the intervening period since John lived there (unlike the house itself); Mr Lennon would sometimes use them to go for a stroll after being up all night smoking "reefer" and playing "the bongos" (or whatever people did back then for amusement). In the context of all this, I find the Brilig film to be interesting: it's another little layer of insight in the.. errr.. gateaux that is... errrr...
Brilig has also begun a Beatle related blog, which can be found HERE. Thanks to him for letting me use the film.

Kinfauns, part 4: then and now.

A long, narrow path led to the gate at Kinfauns, and it's still there, as can be seen above right. The house itself is long gone, although, funnily enough, part of it lives on: the plans for the building that currently occupies the site show that several external and internal walls from Kinfauns were retained in its construction, together with a portion of the floor. Also, according the Beatles' London, the "two 'porthole' lounge windows" have been retained, "now installed in a new orangery". These, of course, were the very windows that led John to believe he was "driving" a submarine at the tail end of the dental experience. Blimey. So there we go:

Many thanks to Joe Baiardi for the contemporary pics.

Sunny Heights: then & now - part 5.

I've wittered on about this at ridiculous length before, so I'll try to keep this brief: the plans showing the extent of Ringo's extension (Missus). The former site of his cinema (or projector room), much mentioned in the pages of the Beatles Book monthly, marked by the arrow:

The original house, whilst by no means a modest dwelling, was nevertheless considerably more so than by the time Messrs Bricky and Builders had finished with it...and it's even bigger today, having undergone subsequent expansion since. Here's the bit of the '65 plan showing the garage, and its outcome:

Riveting stuff.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Kinfauns, part 3: a garage, 1966.

Admittedly, this is quite dull. Nevertheless, here it is - the plan for George's garage at Kinfauns in 1966. Like John at Kenwood and Ringo at Sunny Heights, George did do reconstruction at Kinfauns, plus a lot of de-rigeur psychedelic paintwork. He did also do in 1966 a garage, in one corner of the grounds, to house his mini etc. And there it is:

There is still a garage in that corner, but probably not this one.

Friday, 5 November 2010

Kinfauns, part 2: 1960, 1965 & 1967.

And so to 1960. 5 years (or "something") before George got his hands on it, the owner decided to extend, and thus Kinfauns assumed the zig-zag shape familiar from its Beatle Belt incarnation. The thing I especially like about the 1960 plan is that the architect decided to embellish it with the name of the house, in what can only be described as proto-psychedelic lettering. Given the future history of the place, this seems like yet another "nice" co-incidence. Could it have been that the architect's cultural antennae were twitching? And that he somehow tuned into the zeitgeist, foresaw the influence this humble bungalow would have on popular culture, and let his pen do the talking? Could it really have been that?
No, of course not. Don't be so stupid. But, still, I like these things. Very much.
The house looked pretty much identical when George moved in:

After a couple of years of acid/topiary etc...not so much:

Finally, and with a finality that suggests finalitude, back to the 1960 extension plan, and the reason for the zag in George's zig: more bedrooms, apparently. I suspect this was children related in the case of the original owner. Not so in the case of George:

Part 3 to follow.

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Tittenhurst: various views from sometime or other.

I have no idea when these photos are from, though it's possible they pre-date any Beatle connection; apparently, the grounds to Tittenhurst were open to the public before John and Yoko moved in, and there are no tell-tale signs evident of the usual accoutrements (Kenwood statues/caravan/donkeys/massive (and outrageous) "beard-age" etc):

The Victorian assembly hall behind the main house. Again, note the absence of statues (and Beatles), but the identical nature of everything else:

The rarely seen swimming pool, demolished after Ringo sold the property, sat adjacent to the main house:

Finally, the "front" door (actually round the side), familiar from the Imagine video. The whole place looks a bit uninhabited (assuming it's even possible for a place to be "a bit uninhabited", which I doubt) in these pics:

Innaresting. Thanks to Guus Limberger for sending them, and, as ever, to the Beatles' London guide for...guidance.
UPDATE: Guus informs me they are from 1969, but a few months before John and Yoko moved in.

Kenwood: sunroom - August, 1967.

Sarah over at Meet The Beatles has uncovered a couple more of these shots of the Quiet/Noisy ones, visiting John at Kenwood in the summer of 1967. Again, clearly the sunroom, and, again, no John, which suggests he was either the photographer, or else didn't want his photo taken that day.
Interesting to get a glimpse of one of the fans responsible for these pics; I wonder if Lizzie recognises her. There are a fair few such images in circulation now, and I'll bet around 15 pence that there are more somewhere.