Over the gate...

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Sunday, 6 January 2013

Flood Street: 4 Chelsea Manor Studios, SW3.

Above: Chelsea Manor Studios on Flood Street, opened in 1902, and from 1966 "home" to the photographer Michael Cooper, who occupied Studio 4 on the rear ground floor.
Twas in this very space, twas it not, come 30 March 1967, that Ver Fabs assembled to complete the still remarkable Pepper cover collage.
And here is that very same very space almost half a century later; converted for residential use in 2002, below is the former studio from both ends - and note how the camera lies, making the room appear much bigger than it actually is.
Compare, using the radiator for perspective (and, o' course, click on the pics for a better look):

At some point in the intervening period, a mezzanine floor has been constructed, something which makes perfect sense in terms of maximising the useable space, but is somewhat unfortunate when it comes to "then unt now-ing": the new floor sits right where the upper portion of the collage would have been.
Again, compare the door visible in '67, with the doors now:

So, the room inevitably much changed; however, study it for a bit - recognisable features remain...
1) Parquet floor:

2) What was probably a fireplace in the early 20th century:

Now from the other angle - the rear wall:

Widen the perspective a bit, and there's that fireplace/chimney again, and here almost the exact same angle, then unt now:

So there it is, a magikal spot for anyone interested in this nonsense...

...which just leaves a couple o' things.
Firstly, John's quote from Whistle Test, viz "Two of them are flying...", whence twas stated that he and one other Fab had taken something, presumably acid, before the shoot.
If so, this gives the lie to the oft-repeated "fact" that the only time John ever took the dread lysergic at Abbey Road was 9 days previously, by mistake, on 21 March during a session for Getting Better.
Immediately following the Pepper shoot, off they did scoot to Studio 2 at Abbey Road in order to watch Paul add bass to With A Little Help..., all the eternal while John and mystery Fab plumbing the depths of inner space. (Who was it? Not Paul, shurely - he had bassage to attend to. Most think it must have been George, and maybe so. But I wouldn't be surprised if it was actually Ringo - the majority of photos from this memorable evening show John and Richie as tight as the proverbial "cran du moucheron"):

Lastly, and much more prosaically, following Cooper's death in 1972 the studio became a Beauty School, of all things, and here are 3 vintage pics of Studio 4 under that very guise:

Note that parquet floor. Again. (Or, as ever, don't.)


  1. Thanks for this!
    I sort of remember the "two are flying, two are not" quote but John never said he was one of them as I recall it. Odds would be low that he wasn't I guess...

  2. Good point. I just assumed that John would have been on it, but maybe he wasn't.

  3. and maybe he was! thanks for all the info: i learn so much from this blog, i love it!

  4. It's this kind of stuff that makes me love this blog. Love!

  5. i always thought john seemed a bit miffed (as in '...and they didn't share with me/the other two'), when he made that comment, and always thought it was paul & ringo 'flying' (look at their eyes in sgt p. fotos).

  6. Does anyone have a link for the "2 of them were flying" excerpt of the the Bob harris interview? I've found a 7 min clip of the interview, which was brilliant. John was in a really conciliatory mood and seem really chilled out about everything he was asked about (including whether he regretted How Do Sleep and whether The Beatles would ever get back together), but the 2 of them flying clip isn't on there.

  7. Who the hell knows what John meant! But he coulda just meant two of them were flying from more subtle substances, and I agree it looks like from their eyes it may have been Ringo and Paul. And I find it interesting that the parquet floor is very similar to studio two's at EMI.