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.)

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Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Kinfauns: please Go away.


George in 1967, apparently post-EMI session, looking more than a little displeased; his eccentrically punctuated plea first ignored, and then, no doubt, nicked. So it goes.
George was often pictured at this door, which served as de-facto front door, being closest to the entrance gate. It was actually the way in to the dining room:


Thanks to Joe Baiardi for this splendid snap (relatively hi-res too).

Friday, 25 November 2011

Cavendish Avenue: 'tachefest '67.


Paul and John talkin' the 'tache in Cavendish Avenue circa Sgt Pepper. Interesting for any number of reasons to those who may be interested, but the Night o' The Eyes always in mind (not literally).
Intereshtingly, John caught in almost the same position as Paul:


Cheers Tammy... Oh you.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Montagu Square: 34 by night.


Were you to take a shotgun, cock both hammers, invite it into my mouth and demand an answer to the hardy perrenial, "Choose one Beatles album, and one only. Which shall it be?", I'd be forced to answer "Plee tae i gu ou my mou. I canno enuniae wi a gu i my mou." And then I'd say, "the White Album".
34 Montagu Square was, of course, where John lived whilst contributing to the aforementioned opus, having opted out of Kenwood due to his new "thang" with Yoko. The walls therein witnessed an eventful few months, culminating in the drug bust of Rocktober '68 (of which more in a later post). And, for the third time, I managed to get in, on this occasion finally armed with a camera.
But enough o' my yakkin', where are the Then & Nows already?
Above, the recently unearthed shot of John returning to the flat in the early hours of a '68 morn, and the same location last night. Note the blue plaque. (And I'm going to need a hand getting that postbox into my boot.)(I know a running gag when I see one, db.)
Through the door and into the entrance hall:


The flat occupies two floors, ground and basement. The ground floor has two main rooms - on the left as you enter is the kitchen (as it is now):


Back in the day, the kitchen was downstairs. This room was a bedroom, and here is the very spot where the Two Virgins sleeve was shot:


The window is the same (though bars have been added on the outside) and the external view identical:


Oh look, they've even got the Times in it/on it/against it:


Above the "new" fitted cupboards (the flat was extensively renovated in the mid-90s), some original features remain:


In this corner, the titular bed once sat (and it was here that Pete Shotton decided he'd had enough of being John's "Piss Artist"):


Across the hall is a living room. As ye will no doubt know, before John and Yoko's tenure, Jimi Hendrix also resided here (with Ringo as landlord in both cases). Here they are, on either side of the fireplace (which, I reckon, still has its original surround, were one to strip off that white paint):


All that de-rigeur '60s wood long gone, though:


No pictures of John and Yoko in this room have surfaced thus far. It's quite possible that they didn't really use it, as it's the most exposed room in the flat, with windows opening on to the street.
Heading downstairs, there is another living room. Ringo and Maureen were pictured here in 1965, and John too in 1968 during his Rolling Stone interview with Jonathan Cott. The decor hadn't really changed in the intervening period; note those odd floor-shelves:


This room remains fairly close to its auld incarnation, the main differences being the fireplace, which has had a mantelpiece added, and the removal of the "shelving". But other elements are spottable:



The other main room downstairs used to be the kitchen. There are a few pics of Ringo and Maureen in here, but the best ones in terms of decor spotting feature our old friend Mr Jimi:


Again, the window endures, but nothing much else:


Over Jimi's shoulder, a door can be seen, and there's still one there now:


It leads to a small bathroom, and a mystery:


The question is where were these...:


...these...:


...and these taken?:


This room was John's "office", and it must (one would think) have been in the space now occupied by the above bathroom, and another bathroom on the other side of the wall:


Here's the other bathroom. The mirror wall divides the two, and a bit of wall tapping reveals that there was a door to the right of where the mirror now is:


But damned if I can see any relation between either (or both) rooms and the photos of John's office. I won't go into it at length at this juncture (you'll be relieved to hear), but the answer will no doubt appear if/when contemporary floor plans can be tracked down.
In the meantime, huge thanks to the flat's current owner Reynold D’Silva, and to top bloke Peter Compton for sorting out the shufti.

Monday, 14 November 2011

Wapping Pier Head: more Wapping.


More from Bert Kleersnijder's splendid MDO revisit. Of most interest, perhaps, are those Then & Nows from the non-public side of the garden (and note too the rarely aired uncropped version of this 'un):


So those buildings on the corner there are new. I'd also never seen a present day shot of this location, until now:


The dockside area of Wapping was subject to massive reconstruction in the '80s and '90s; note how the big colonial warehouses behind are all gone now (though some buildings on the other side of the Thames seem to have survived):


Getting all this reconstruction off to a flying start were John and Ringo...:


...who, ever helpful, booted things off via the medium of smashing things with pickaxes:


Many thanks to Bert for sharing these, and yet more to come too.

Friday, 11 November 2011

Kenwood: much attic.


Here's one of the hitherto unseen attic bedrooms in 2006. Which one (at that time there were three, including the former studio) is guessable thanks to Joe's video, which shows traces of the '06 decor still in place amid the renovation, including a tell-tale splash of red in the window alcove nearest the old studio room:


Compare the Lennon-era layout. Note that the wall dividing the windows (and rooms) had been demolished by the time Joe got there:


Inarreshtingly, the Beatles Book labelled the pic of John in the mirror as being from the room next to the studio; taking them at their word, that would mean (to state the numbingly obvious) this very location. And there does seem to be a fit: note the windowsill, and that angled "joist" (or whatever it is) - an exact match:


Outside, the view corresponds with a small bit of the other attic alcove, and the more substantial guest bedroom roof:


So another Kenwood location nailed. There he did squat. Try to contain yourself. Etc.
(Incidentally, this was also the location of the blue window (see posts passim), and that's not it in the mirror shot, which means it must have been installed post-June 29, 1967. Try further to contain yourself.)(AND FAIL, HUMAN.)

Monday, 7 November 2011

Kenwood: the front door endures!


Above, the kitchen in '06. This, as "readahs" will know, is a new bit of the house, constructed in the mid-90s. In John's time, there was an odd internal yard in this position, next to the garage overlooking the pool. An almost identical shot has been on here before - but, crucially, that one didn't show the external door. This one does, to the left of the pic...and if that's not the old Lennon-era front door, then it's Dylan caps for dinner tonight:


The current front door is substantially bigger than this one. After (or before) installing it, they must have decided to keep the old front door as well, but transplant it to the new kitchen block. And there it is!
So much of this blog charts the destruction of locale, that it's pleasing to report an unexpected incidence of endurance.
Knockers or no knockers.

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Kenwood: living room & den - variations on a theme.


Here's the living room in 2006, shot from the dining room door. Compare with 1965:


The door on the opposite wall leads to the den (as was):


This room, at least, recognisable from its previous incarnation. Compare with 1968:


The famous (round these parts) photos of the Fool taken, o' course, in this location. But that radiator wall has been knocked through to make a door:


I suppose there is a limited number of ways to sensibly arrange a room (and if there's one thing I am synonymous with, it's the sensible arrangement of rooms), but what I find mildly diverting is blah blah blah...

Kenwood: guest bedroom view.


If you've ever looked at the various pictures of John on his favourite perch and wondered what could be seen from the window above (and unless you are a deeply disturbed individual, you haven't, but nevertheless), then wonder no more.
In 2006 this room was the master bedroom, but back in the day it served as the main guest bedroom. How it looked I know not, but the view from the window probably hasn't changed a great deal. Here it is in '06:


John Hallenius mentioned being able to see all the way to Guildford from the upstairs windows. If so, the large building on the left might be Guildford Castle:


Or not.

Kenwood: more greenhouse.


I have dribbled previously that the greenhouse was demolished in the mid-90's. Wrong again; here it is in 2006, very much undemolished, and its exact location clear from the panorama above.
Below - 1968, 1967, 2006:


As far as I know, it isn't there now however - but maybe Joe can confirm that.

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Kenwood: attic studio - 1967 & 2006.


This, sadly and happily, represents the peak of this thus far. On several different occasions vaguely contemporary photos of this room have been almost within my grasp (Joe Baiardi's wonderful and valuable vid notwithstanding), but in each case the photographer has decided that you seeing them would violate their essential etc., so unseen they remain.
None of this matters, but if it does, it is because in this room John (and Paul) wrote many of the most etc. songs of the 20th etc. right here! Next to the stuffed bunny!
As "then and now"s go, this is the tops. That bunny occupies the very spot. Oh yes. Or no.
A veritable trove has almost literally been inserted in my hard drive this evening (steady), and the results will, due to the fact that I am unemployed, be on here imminently. But this is the best one, mundane as it may be.
(This is how the room looked a few years back. Now not. So "then and thens" then.)