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Encyclopedia > The Beatles' London

The Beatles' London


This article looks at the history behind some of the London landmarks famously associated with the Beatle's for example the Abbey Road Studios & crossing etc

The famous Abbey Road Zebra crossing
The famous Abbey Road Zebra crossing

Abbey Road Studios

  • The Beatles first came to the Abbey Road studios on June 6th 1962 for a recording session/audition. The band were to be signed to EMI so long as their audition was good.
  • ‘A Day in the Life’ was recorded in Studio One at Abbey Road on February 10th 1967. The studio was filled with people dressed in psychedelic clothing alongside the orchestra which was dressed in tuxedos.
  • On March 21st 1967, during the Sgt. Pepper sessions, Lennon accidentally took acid and got scared of his microphone. He was taken up onto the roof of the studios by Beatle's producer George Martin. Paul later took him back to Cavendish Avenue where he too took acid.
  • Yoko Ono had a bed installed in the studio during the Abbey Road sessions with a microphone so that she could pass comments whilst she recovered from a car accident in Scotland

The Abbey Road zebra crossing

Abbey Road NW8
Abbey Road NW8
  • Site of the famous Abbey Road album cover photo.
  • The photo was taken on August 8th 1969 by Ian McMillan and was based on a sketch drawn by Paul.
  • Paul parodied the picture for his 1993 album ‘Paul is Live’
  • Paul wore the same Tommy Nutter suit he wears in the album cover whilst attending the court hearings dissolving the Beatles.

Buckingham Palace

  • Paul was knighted here by the Queen on March 11th 1997

57 Wimpole Street

57 Wimpole Street
57 Wimpole Street
  • Home of McCartney’s then girlfriend, Jane Asher and her family. Paul lived here in a room in the attic when he first moved down to London.
  • Jane’s mother, Margaret, was a music teacher and taught in a small basement music room. It was here that Lennon and McCartney wrote the Beatle’s first US number 1 ‘I want to hold your hand’ and also ‘Eleanor Rigby’
  • The ground floor was Dr. Asher’s reception room, the first floor a parlour with an out of tune piano and the third was the family floor with living room and Jane’s bedroom. Peter Asher and McCartney had rooms in the attic with Peter’s room being the one that overlooked the street at the front of the house and Paul’s at the back overlooking Browning Mews.
  • Paul wrote ‘Yesterday’ on the piano in his attic bedroom.
  • Fans once stole one of the cast iron knobs from the front railings of the house. Dr. Asher took a casting of a remaining knob and then melted down any bits of available iron around the house to make a replacement. Mrs. Asher was quite angry as she had been fond of some of the things he had selected as scrap.
  • Gathered fans became such a problem during the filming of Help in Spring 1965 that Dr. Asher devised an escape route out of Paul’s bedroom window. Paul would climb across into a flat owned by an old army colonel at No. 56 and would be let down into the lift and would exit into the back street through the basement (10 Browning Mews). Paul brought the couple living in the basement a fridge by way of thanks.

The Apple Boutique, 94 Baker Street

94 Baker Street
94 Baker Street
  • Home of the famous Apple Boutique, the Bealte's own shop
  • 94 Baker Street had been brought by the Beatles’s accountants on the Beatle’s behalf as a financial investment.
  • The premises became temporary headquarters for Apple whilst Savile Row was being renovated. The ground floor was turned into a boutique.
  • The concept of the boutique was that absolutely everything was for sale. It was ‘a beautiful place where beautiful people can buy beautiful things’ according to the Beatles.
  • A Dutch art group known as ‘The Fool’ designed many of the items available in the shop and were also responsible for the mural on the building’s exterior. The City of Westminster had refused planning permission but The Fool decided to go ahead regardless. The mural was only present for three weeks before the council threatened to repaint it and charge Apple for the privilege.
  • ‘Magic Alex’ had been given a large sum of money to create an artificial sun to hand outside the shop for the grand opening however this never became a reality.
  • The shop’s grand opening was on December 4th at 8.16 pm (the time chosen by John Lennon) with a fashion show following. The shop was so crowded that several people fainted.
  • In seven months the Apple Boutique lost £200,000 with a large proportion of the stock stolen by both customers and staff.
  • Tired of the enterprise the Beatles gave away all of the shop’s remaining stock and closed it down on July 31st 1968.
Browing Mews, behind Wigmore Street
Browing Mews, behind Wigmore Street

Apple, 3 Saville Row

  • Headquarters of the Beatle's company Apple
  • Brought by Apple in June 1968 for £500,000, occupancy from September 1968
  • 3 Savile Row had once been brought by Nelson as Lady Hamilton’s London residence. The terrace itself was built between 1733 and 1735.
  • Apple had been set up in April 1967 after the Beatle’s accountants had advised them that they would face a £3,000,000 tax bill if they did not put money into a business. Subsidiaries of Apple Corps including Apple Records, Apple Music, Apple Films, Apple Publishing and Apple Electronics. The Apple logo itself was inspired by Rene Magritte’s painting ‘Le Jeu de mourre’ (The Guessing Game’).
  • Huge costs incurred by Apple, especially by the Press Office at Savile Row who entertained many of the guests who dropped by and built up huge expenses for alcohol, drugs and other luxury items.
  • The guest lounge was once home to a group of Hell’s Angels that Harrison had invited to visit. It also hosted a family of American Hippies after the mother, Emily, realised she had to take John Lennon to Fiji. Emily and her husband Frank were often naked and lived at Savile Row for a while with their four children.
    The Apple Boutique as it was when first opened
    The Apple Boutique as it was when first opened
  • Apple grew increasingly chaotic with one office worker even being caught stealing lead off the premises’ roof.
  • ‘Magic Alex’ had been asked to build a studio in the basement of 3 Savile Row. The studio was unusable as it had no way of connecting the instruments in the studio itself to the control panel and was next door to the building’s heating plant.
  • Site of the famous final Beatle’s concert, which took place on the building’s roof. The 45-minute set was brought to an end after complaints from the Barclay’s bank across the street.
Abbey Road Studios
Abbey Road Studios

Paul McCartney's London Home, 7 Cavendish Avenue

  • Looking for a freehold property, had looked in Chester Terrace but was blocked by residents concerned about the attention he would attract
  • Brought April 13th 1965 for £40,000
  • Hired John Dunbar’s elder sister Marina Adams and her husband John to renovate. Their first job had been the carpentry in Peter Asher’s room on Wimpole Street.
  • Renovations cost £20,000
  • Paul moved in late March 1966
  • An experimental colour TV and video recorder stood in the corner of the living room, both donated by the BBC
  • Basement room held a variety of artefacts brought back from 3-day stop in India
  • Paul’s housekeeper was Mrs. Kelly who was fired along with her husband when they tried to sell their story to an Australian newspaper
  • Music room/den was on the top floor and had a window overlooking the front courtyard. Songs including ‘Penny Lane’, ‘Getting Better’ and ‘Hey Jude’ were written here.
  • A Knight piano stood in the music room. Paul got design team Binder, Edwards and Vaughan to paint the piano in psychedelic colours. The job cost £300.
  • Many visitors to Cavendish Avenue including Andy Warhol and Mick Jagger. Paul reportedly offered Mick his first joint in the music room at Cavendish Avenue.
  • Paul brought a dog, Martha, upon moving into Cavendish Avenue and also had a litter of cats.
  • Paul had a meditation chapel built in his garden around 1967 which contained a circular bed donated to him by Groucho Marx
  • Jane returned unexpectedly to Cavendish Avenue from Bristol to find Paul in bed with another girl in 1968. They broke up shortly afterwards.

95 Wigmore Street

  • Hired out by Neil Aspinall to house the Apple Companies whilst the Savile Row property was being finished.
  • Moved out on the first week of September 1968 leaving only the accountants behind.

Maryelbone Registry Office

  • Paul married Linda here on March 12th 1969.
  • Paul’s brother Michael was best man but was delayed on the train for over an hour. The wedding was delayed until he arrived.
  • None of the other Beatles were present at the wedding.

Apartment 'L', 57 Green Street

  • Flat hired by Brian Epstein for the Beatles after they became too famous to stay at hotels
  • Apartment was only basically furnished, Lennon and McCartney moved out with Harrison and Ringo staying until the expiration of the lease in Spring 1964

6 Masons Yard

  • Site of the Indica Gallery, established by John Dunbar, Peter Asher and Barry Miles as an outlet for experimental art and literature
  • Jane Asher donated a Victorian till to the shop which caused havoc when it came to accounts as its till roles were half filled with Jane’s fantasy purchases made when she was a child.
  • Paul helped with the furnishing of the shop

34 Montagu Square

  • Ringo’s flat on the first floor, hired by McCartney who had recording equipment installed so that artists/poets etc could drop in and make experimental recordings as and when required.
  • The project eventually fell through and the flat was empty until December 1966 when Ringo let Jimi Hendrix and Chas Chandler move in for three months whilst house hunting. Jimi through black paint on the walls whilst on acid. John and Yoko were the next tenants and the flat was the scene of a police drugs bust in October 1968 that resulted in John being convicted for cannabis procession.

Broadhurst Gardens, North London

The Royal Courts of Justice
The Royal Courts of Justice
  • The Beatles famously auditioned here on January 1st 1962 but were told by Dick Rowe, head of A & R at Decca, that guitar bands were ‘old hat’. Decca later saved some face by signing the Rolling Stones.

Royal Courts of Justice

  • Paul issued a writ on February 18th 1971 calling for the dissolution of the Beatle’s partnership.

 
 

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