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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Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Kenwood: July, 1966.

July, 1966: England is convulsed by World Cup "fever". (Or was it? The lack of an all-pervasive media at least seemed to mean that choreographed hysteria, a necessary adjunct to any major sporting event these days, wasn't present. But I digress.) (A pedagogical friend of mine maintains that there are 2 types of teacher; the "...and now for something completely different" type, and the "...but I digress" type. Not that I'm claiming any educational content to these witterings. God, no. But I digress.)
July, 1966: England is moderately enthused by World Cup "interest". The Beatles are girding their collective loins for the following month's U.S. tour, having just suffered a bruising during the Filipino debacle. John, apparently, is up to his third eyeball in acid, and has taken to leaving the heavy wooden gate at Kenwood open, allowing Ver Fannage to wander hither and, moreover, thither at will. And here we have a family group doing that very thing, whilst, luckily, recording their visit with a few wonderfully evocative snapshots.
So, above, the aforementioned gate, very much open. Below, the former location of that Help! boot, heading up the drive:

And again:

A random spot in the grounds:

In front of the den, and first floor bathroom, this part of the house almost unchanged to the present day, as regulah readahs will know:

The front door, Lennon knocker very much in place. Presumably, having got that far, they'd have given it a go, but whether there was any response I don't know:

The familiar canopy:

And again:

On to the garage; note the presence of the pre-decorated Roller, and John's Mini Cooper. He had other cars, as did Cyn, but the presence of these means it's tempting to picture him in, but not answering:

And another:

Finally, the most intriguing shot. I can't really place it, but note the presence of wood on the stairs, there to facilitate the use of a wheelbarrow:

Many thanks to the people in these pics for giving permission to have them on here, and to Lizzie Bravo for sorting it all out.


  1. Replies
    1. is it just me or why don't i think everything written here is correct?

    2. No, not just you; definitely some nonsense there.

  2. Love these pics. Fan snaps are the best of all - capturing the time without any gloss. Somehow they take you closer to being there. Can't wait for Lizzie's book - surely the holy grail of fan snappage! Lizzie, if you pass by, how long until it's available?

  3. hi plasticine! i've had these photos since they came back from the trip, and finally scanned them and asked if they could be shared. this is the family of a school friend of mine who was a beatle fan. they went to london and what i imagine is she asked them to try and get john's autograph for her, since she didn't go on the trip with them. as for my book, i'll get back to it very soon - it's getting closer and closer to being done. just got back from 1 day in lisbon and 11 in london, where i had a great time, stayed with lovely friends, had a blast at two of the abbey road amazing lectures and - despite being very sick with a cold every single day of my trip and still now and the terribly cold weather - it was worth every minute!

  4. Great - thanks for the info Lizzie! Really looking forward to the book, I bet you've got a real gold mine of pictures! I went to one of the Abbey Road lectures last year - Kevin and Brian did an amazing job of bringing the history alive, and it was completely surreal finding myself in Studio 2 - never thought that'd happen! A real pilgrimage and the closest I figure I'll ever get to the Beatles' magic. I'm sure you get told this all the time, but you really did live every Beatle fans' dream, and I can't wait to read your story and share your reminisces when the book comes out.

  5. Lizzie very kindly let me see some of her photos during that recent visit, and they are extraordinary. Her book shalt rock. Oh yes.
    Even more kindly-ly, she allowed me to scan her many Kenwood pics for future use round these parts; so watch these ..err...parts.

  6. Nice - excitement levels just rose another notch...

  7. hi plasticine! it will be a real pleasure sharing my stories and photos with you all when the book is out! i know how precious they are. that's why i am insisting with all my friends that they should write down their memories too. there's soooo many amazing fan photos out there, and such funny, lovely stories of fans and the fabs. some of our beatle-friends have already passed on, and with them went their photos and memories... and sean, if you forget the things i mentioned about my kenwood visits to match the photos, just let me know and i'll look them up in my diaries. by the way, i feel better today. i still can't believe i hardly ever get sick and i had to catch a cold THE DAY i left for london...