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

Monday, 31 October 2011

Wapping Pier Head: 6↑2, part 1.


It can't still be there, can it? But apparently, it is. These new "nows", courtesy of Bert Kleersnijder, show 6↑2 very much in-situ. But what is 6↑2? What means 6↑2? No doubt something to do with Faul related nonsense. Or not.
Still, these are great:


The location is now a private garden, usually locked, of which the old filled-in Pier Head is part. Surprisingly, much remains as was:


Bert, having gained access, spent an hour meticulously capturing "nows" for all the MDO shots from this locale. He's promised to send the rest as soon as they have been edited:


Many thanks to him.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

St Annes Court: Trident Studios.


Late August, 1968. Tiring of the shitty vibes, El Schnoz has walked out on sessions for the new album, opting instead for Sardinia. The remaining three decide to plough on, and are "photoed" by fannage entering St Annes Court, home of Trident Studios, to begin work on Dear Prudence.
Here's John back then (looking, in the following photos, decidedly Rabbi Saul-like), probably carrying lyrics and notes for his new song (or not), together with the obligatory nows:


Interesting (or not) to see how the buildings, though remodelled and renovated, retain echoes of earlier incarnations:


Paul is also captured (not literally) at some point on St Annes Court, heading for "drummal" duties on Prudence - hard to say exactly where, but a comparison of the brickwork (my speaking voice in no way resembles E.L.Wisty's) leads me to suspect that this is virtually the same spot as the John pic:


If so, this bit now completely different:


...which should come as no surprise. St Annes Court, in common with everything else on this blog, has been subject to a huge amount of reconstruction over the years. Take the following example: facing in the opposite direction from the above shots, we see John just outside Trident, engaging with fannage. Compare the same spot 10 years earlier in 1958:


The above black and white pic is precisely how the street would have appeared to the Beatles back then. And now?:


Trident (or the location thereof) is marked by the arrows, but everything on the right hand side has been demolished, including, sadly, the elegant St Annes Buildings, one wall of which formed part of Flaxman Court, directly opposite the studio's front door. Paul was also pictured here with a selection of his girlfriends that month. I jest:


Irritatingly, the girls get in the way of seeing what the exterior of Trident looked like back then. These days it has distinctive metal"werk", as seen above, but possibly not back then. Luckily, however, the following lucky snap (of Paul leaving post-Prudence session) gives a lucky glimpse of the lucky entrance area in unlucky 1968: again, ye must compare with the noo - no more "shit brown" decor, and a bit of remodelling seems to have occurred, but it's fundamentally the same space:


Here's a panoramic shot as it is now. The door on the right leads to an office, and then to what was the Studio 1 Control Room. To the left of that is the lift. The stairs down lead to what used to be Studio 1 itself, and the stairs up in days of yore would have taken you to Studio 2, tape rooms etc.:


But what of this fabled Studio 1 Control Room, I hear you mutter. The next photo shows how it was laid out when Hey Jude and the four White Album tracks recorded here were "done": the console faced the entrance wall, and wood strip wall furniture was much in evidence. Again, compare with the contemporary view:


When Trident upgraded the console in the early '70's, it was installed facing in the opposite direction. Note the big window, which looked down on Studio 1 below. These days, the window is covered from behind, because there are now three studios down there with low ceilings, and thus the view wouldn't be up to much:


Back then, however, it was rather different. This famous photo of Paul, George and brass players mid-Honey Pie taken from the Control Room window. The arrow, thrillingly, points to a vent of note (one of a pair), which, if you can remain conscious long enough, I shall return to presently:


This 'un is, apparently, Paul recording the vocal for the lovely Martha My Dear, looking up at our by-now-old-friend the Studio 1 Control Room window for thumbs-up-or-downage:


But what now remains of this hallowed space? It survives, though, as mentioned previously, there are three small studios occupying the area. Trident specialises in voice-over work for film and TV these days, and doesn't record music anymore.
However, there are a trio of remnants. Remember the by-now-our-old-friend-one-of-a-pair vent? Well, it's gone. But the other one is still there! And the entrance is in the same place too:


The third, thrillingly, is the door to the toilet, which now doesn't lead to a toilet, but remains in-situ nevertheless. This, o' course, was the very one El Schnoz appeared from in the nick of time to add his "drummal" to Hey Jude:


Finally, the old studio from the other angle; that far wall corresponds to one of the new rooms:


And that's it. There are other photos of les Fabs in and around Trident, but none of them show anything much of the building itself (apart from one of John and Yoko in the tape room on the third floor - I didn't get in there, as it's now part of another business).
Apparently the current owner gets various folk from Trident's golden age turning up from time to time for a nostalgic rummage, including David "Dave" Bowie, Roger May and Brian Taylor of the Queens, and even our very own Sir Paul "McCartney" Macca. You too can join them (not literally), as if the studio isn't busy and more than 4 people feel so inclined, then there is a tour every Thursday evening. White Album freaks (and I assume ye, like me, qualify) should take advantage before it's all gone for good.
Alrighty?
Many thanks to Julian Carr.

Monday, 17 October 2011

Jacaranda Club: missing missive.


Missing till now, that is; Paul's letter to an unknown tub-thumper inviting him in for an audition shortly before Hamburg. The letter shows they knew (at least partially) what they were getting into. Whether this proto-Ringo responded and auditioned unsuccessfully is unknown (though it's generally been thought up to now that the Beatles were so desperate for a drummer that they'd have taken anyone with a functioning snare).
Thanks to Lizzie.

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Cavendish Avenue: refurbishment - 1965.


It took Paul over a year to move in to Cavendish Avenue, mainly because of the inevitable internal and external refurbishment. Above is how the place looked shortly after he bought it, but before he'd moved in: no gate yet, and the door still to be replaced. But comparing these 3 shots (1961/1965/1968), I don't see a lot of difference (though I'm sure all the work was "essential", not to mention, surely coincidentally, "extortionate"):

Friday, 14 October 2011

Liverpool: 1971 Merseybeat Convention.



This, my friends, is gold. Various ghosts of Merseybeat (including, in one case, an ex-Silver Beatle) are seen ruminating upon the contemporary (and moribund) "scene", as it was in Liverpool at the dawn of the '70s.
Reporter Bernard Falk pokes around the Cavern (that's the actual pre-demolition Cavern, in glorious colour), and interviews the actual Allan Williams, who, complete with pint, sports the second most spectacular mutton-chops I've ever seen (see if you can spot the pair that best his elsewhere in this).
Top-notch stuff, and suffused with both a palpable sadness that back then, at that time, no-one much seemed to care anymore, and a sense that places such as the empty Cavern, as portrayed in this priceless footage, were about to be swept away forever. Palpable, I tell ye.
(I've just realised this cuts off a bit early, but you can see the end, together with other innareshting shtuffsh, HERE.)

Kenwood: interview - April, 1965.



This most "innaresting" interview provides a verbatim slice of life at Kenwood in April '65 (or thereabouts). You can read it for "youselfs", but a few points to note: 1. Large (and doubtless good) dog Nigel, previously unknown, and now immediately to return to canine obscurity from whence he skittered. 2. Blues Rags & Hollers (as it is actually titled) was an album by Koerner, Ray & Glover, much admired by the Lenin-cap wearing brigade. 3. Bernard Levin called the then Tory Leader Sir Alec Douglas-Home a "cretin" and an "imbecile" on Not So Much A Programme More A Way Of Life, which was the follow-up to That Was The Week That Was. 4. John seems somewhat agitated (one can guess why - last man standing at the Ad-Lib yet again); Cynthia seems somewhat appalled, even given that it was very much pre-PC. 5. I can say no more.
Many thanks to Richard Morton Jack for passing this on.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Montagu Square: August 1st, 1968.


"Oh look!" quoth Ringo, upon being shown the Two Virgins sleeve, "You've even got the Times on it!" (Did he say "on it" or "in it"? The former would be more appropriate in the above example. But I digress.) Indeed they did, with the Times Business News section evident on the floor on the sleeve, and errr...not on the floor in the out-take above.
The actual date of the "Twa" Virgins cover shoot is unknown, but it may well have been the very same day as this paper was published, namely Thursday August 1st, 1968.
Leafing through any newspaper from back then is interesting, but particularly so in this case: which stories would have caught John's eye? (There really, genuinely is no pun intended.)(And in any case John, apparently, would usually read every story in whatever paper was to hand. But anyway...)
Obviously this 'un:


And clearly this one too:


John, Paul, Dylan and Nilsson all lauded.
TV that evening was a fairly uninspiring selection across 3 (count 'em) channels, with Top Of The Pops at 7.30 probably being the highlight. "All Programmes in Colour" on BBC2, though. Which must have been nice.
Finally, the back page would almost certainly have been perused to see how Northern Songs was doing:


(And if anyone out there has a copy of the Day In The Life Daily Mail, do get in touch.)

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Cavendish Avenue: October 9th, 2011.


It's been quite a day at Cavendish Avenue; possibly the last old skool "great day" there (with press, camera crews, fannage, irritated neighbours etc). Ringo's been round, amongst others. But you wouldn't expect any of that here, would you? Instead, it's all about the bricks and mortar, so a then & now: Paul's place as seen in 1969, on the occasion of his first wedding, and the same spot today, on the occasion of his third.
As the sun went down every light inside came on, and it was rather nice to see the auld place full of life once again:


Good on yer, Macca.

Kenwood: kitchen.


This 'un has been on here before, but cropped and small. Here it is all uncropped and large: the only shot to have emerged thus far from the old kitchen at Kenwood, though I don't doubt that more are out there somewhere.

Kenwood: June, 29th 1967.


More John on the couch, June 29th, 1967.

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Sunny Heights: Ringo's mural.


As has been seen, the mural that Ringo had "done" at Sunny Heights in 1967, remarkably, endures. Here's a closer look:


The artist turns out to have been one Dudley Edwards. He had been staying with Paul at Cavendish Avenue (where he painted the piano in the upstairs music room), before moving on to Sunny Heights. Whilst chez Richie, he "done" this:


More detail:


He also visited John at Kenwood during this period, where he managed to almost drown in the pool; John had to drag him out and revive him. Edwards was also responsible for the paint job at John Crittle's Dandy Fashions on the Kings Road, which later, o' course, turned into Apple Tailoring:


Thanks to Joe Baiardi for some o' this shizzle.

Crowcombe Heathfield Rail Station: spherical restitution.


"Please Mister, can we have our ball back?".
Crowcombe Heathfield station, part of the West Somerset line, is another place of interest (no, really). It dates from the mid-1800s, and the original signal box, past which the Beatles trotted/cycled for one of the more amusing bits of HDN, was constructed in 1879.
Here it is as pictured in the 1950s:


And a good then & then from 1966:


Soon after les Fabs made ludicrous use of it, at around the time of the above pic, the station was "rationalised" by British Rail, and began to fall into disrepair. It eventually closed altogether in the early '70s. The signal box was demolished, and this shot shows that side of the platform after it had been removed:


Happily, the station re-opened in 1979, and a team of volunteers has restored it to a pristine state. They even tracked down a similar signal box at Ebbw Vale Sidings, and moved it to the former position of the old one on the station platform. So there it now sits, marking the spot of a famous bit of Beatle burlesque:

Saturday, 1 October 2011

Kenwood: July, 1964.


Some photos of Kenwood, in their fullest incarnation thus far, from very shortly after John bought the place in July, 1964. These are the earliest shots in circulation (though I'm certain there are preceding ones buried in someone's drawer somewhere).
Clearly there has been jiggery (not to mention pokery)(or possibly hanky)(but let us not dwell on panky) with some of these, but they remain innaresting for all that - the aforementioned lends an almost 3D quality to this one:


John, as ye must know by now, acquired Kenwood from an American woman, who had been living there with her husband up until his death. The house and grounds had apparently fallen into some disrepair, as is evident from the state of the drive:


Massive renovation ensued - but have a look at the following:


The bit arrowed is where John built his swimming pool, but at this time there was, in theory, nothing there (and no sunroom/large garage etc. either); yet there does appear to be something:


The American woman returned to the States after selling Kenwood to John. Whoever she was, I'd like a look at her photo album.
Thanks to Eric Nernie.

13 Emperors Gate: underground sound.


One man's detail is another man's anal retention, with one or other of these things being what it's all about round here. And so to the dullest photo I've ever taken: above, the view from a District Line train as it pulls out of Gloucester Road station. I was on said train the other day when it occurred to me that the tracks run directly behind the site of John's old flat on Emperors Gate. As readahs will know, this block was demolished in the 1980s to provide space for a new office building, the back of which can, thrillingly, be seen above.
The following map shows the position of number 13 relative to the train tracks:


Thus the daytime and evening clatter of tube carriages must have been a constant background sound at number 13, and commuters (possibly creepily) would have been able to catch glimpses of activity chez-Lennon through his rear windows, had they only known.
The recent "non-sale" sale of Astrid's photos threw up a number of previously unseen images captured in the living room there. Pity about the watermarks:


It all looks fairly subfusc, and a great contrast to the coming acid grandeur of Kenwood: