Category Archives: London Beatles Walks News

It Was 50 Years Ago Today! – Special Sgt Pepper Beatles London Walk 1st June

“It was 50 Years ago today, Sgt Pepper taught the band to play”.

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the release of the Beatles ‘Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’, come on a special Beatles Walking tour of London. We will be telling the story of how the album was made, and visiting major locations associated with it, and the many Beatles locations in London – including of course Abbey Road Studios and the famous crossing.

The tour is on June 1st and starts at 11:00 am outside exit one of Tottenham Court Road Underground Station. There is no need to book, just turn up and pay on they day.

…and don’t worry if you can’t make that tour, we do Beatles walks all year around! For more info, see http://www.beatlesinlondon.com

The wall of Abbey Road Studios today

The Beatles In Chelsea

During the 1960s, the Chelsea area of London was the most fashionable, and proved to be a magnet for the rich and famous to live, shop and party. The Beatles were no exceptions. Here are some of the many places the Beatles frequented:

We go down the Kings Road on our Swinging 60s bus tour. For more info see http://www.60sbus.london

 Royal Court Hotel ( Now Sloane Square Hotel)

This four star hotel, right on fashionable Sloane Square, was the hotel of choice for the Beatles on their many trips to London from June 1962 to the summer of 1963.

They first came here on June 5th 1962, in preparation for their first recording session with George Martin at EMI Studios, Abbey Road, the following day.

Chelsea and the Kings Road was already a very fashionable area and the Beatles had time to explore the boutiques, restaurants and bars that attracted the rich and famous.

The Beatles returned to the Royal Court Hotel in early September 1962, when they recorded their first single, ‘Love Me Do’ at EMI.

By early 1963, the Beatles had become nationally famous, especially after ‘Please Please Me’ reached number one in the UK charts, and their trips to London had to become much more frequent. Another notable occasion was when they came down to record the Please Please Me LP. They arrived on February 10th, ready to record the album the next day. But, rather than rest up in preparation for the recording session, they did an extensive photo session with Cyrus Andrews, in the hotel and around Sloane Square.  You can see photos from the session at http://www.multiplusbooks.com/630210.html

Ringo with a fan outside the Royal Court Hotel, early 1963

The Royal Court Hotel remained the Beatles London base until the summer of 1963, when they transferred to the President Hotel in Guilford Street, Bloomsbury.

102 Edith Grove

This was a student flat, rented by Mick Jagger, and also occupied by Keith Richards and Brian Jones. The Beatles saw the Rolling Stones play at the Crawdaddy Club in Richmond on April 14th 1963, and the Stones invited the Beatles back to their digs for a party afterwards. The flat was a typical student pad, and hadn’t been cleaned for months. However, the Beatles probably didn’t mind, because compared to their former digs, behind a filthy cinema in Hamburg, Edith Grove seemed like luxury! Despite the rivalry between their fans, the Beatles and the Stones remained friends throughout their careers.

Penny Lane in the Kings Road!

John Lennon came to the Kings Road in February 1967 – to shoot a scene for the Beatles ‘Penny Lane’ video! He was filmed walking past Markham Square, near Mary Quant’s ‘Bazaar’ boutique.

Chelsea Manor Studios 1-11 Flood Street

Chelsea Manor Studios opened in 1902, and has been used by artists, photographers and writers. It’s most famous photo session took place here on March 30th 1967, when the Beatles came here to have their picture taken for the cover of their new album ‘Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’.

The Beatles arrived in the late afternoon for the album cover shoot, which was devised by an amalgamation of talent. Art-directed by Robert Fraser, designed by Peter Blake and his then wife Jann Haworth, and photographed by Michael Cooper. The look of the album, the colourful collage of life-sized cardboard models depicting more than 70 famous people on the front of the album cover and lyrics printed on the back cover, was the first time this had been done on an English pop LP.

For more on the album cover shoot, see http://www.thebeatles.com/photo-album/making-cover-sgt-peppers-lonely-hearts-club-band

Chelsea Manor Studios now holds luxury apartments.

A certain well known album cover

Granny Takes a Trip – 488 Kings Road

‘Granny’ was opened by Nigel Waymouth, his girlfriend Sheila Cohen and John Pearse, after looking for an outlet for Sheila’s collection of antique clothes. The premises had been acquired in 1965 and opened in December after Pearse, who was a Savile Row-trained tailor, agreed to join them. Waymouth came up with the curious name  and the boutique was featured in the famous ‘London – the Swinging City’ issue of ‘Time’ Magazine. Around the same time, Nigel Waymouth began to design posters and record covers under the name Hapshash and the Coloured Coat with fellow artist, Michael English. Their posters were used exclusively to pubicise concerts at the Savile Theatre, which was owned by  Brian Epstein.

All of the The Beatles are known to have shopped here, along with their wives and girlfriends.

It was, however, more famous for its external appearance(s), including the 1966 mural of a native American chief and the 1967 ‘Jean Harlow’ mural. Most famous of all is probably the 1948 Dodge saloon car which appeared to have crashed through the wall and onto the forecourt. The car was also subjected to colour makeovers – canary yellow and, most memorably, in black and gold with glittering stars. The Dodge feature was kept after the sale of the shop in 1969 until complaints from the local authorities forced its removal in 1971. The clothes, though of very high quality, were very high-priced and tended to attract an ‘elite’ clientele, which just added to its legendary status. . Pearse was unhappy with the increasingly ‘hippie’ image of the shop and eventually they ended up selling the business in 1969. The London premises at 488 closed in 1974, the name being sold to Byron Hector who opened a shop under the same name elsewhere on Kings Road, eventually closing in 1979.

Granny Takes a Trip 2

Club Dell’ Aretusa 107 Kings Rd

Opened by famed restauranteur Alvaro Maccioni, who teamed up with Apicella and Mino Parlanti (owner of the equally celebrated Borgo San Frediano) to open Club dell’Aretusa, a large members-only bar/restaurant/disco on the King’s Road. “Are you one of the beautiful people?” demanded Angus McGill’s double-page feature in the Evening Standard. “Simple test: Can you get in to the Dell’Aretusa?”

On May 22nd 1968, John Lennon and George Harrison attended a party here to launch ‘Apple Tailoring’ which was opening just down the road at 161 Kings Road. George was with his wife Pattie, but John was with his new girlfriend, Yoko Ono. They had got together just a few days earlier, and this was their first public appearance together, much to the interest of the gathered media, who kept on asking John ‘Where’s your wife?’ Ironically, George Harrison wore a jacket which he bought from rival clothes shop, Granny Takes a Trip (see above!)

George and Pattie Harrison walking to Apple Tailoring

 

John and Yoko walking down the Kings Road

Apple Tailoring (Civil and Theatrical) 161 Kings Road

Apple Tailoring, which opened on May 23rd 1968,  was the latest addition to the Beatles growing Apple group of companies – they already had a boutique on Baker Street.

The Beatles had known the shop for a while. Before their involvement, it was called Dandie Fashions. ‘Dandie Fashions’ was the brainchild of  John Crittle. He arrived from Australia around 1964, and  it didn’t take John long to get himself established amongst London’s young and hip in-crowd. A fortunate turn of events landed John his first real employment was at  ‘Hung On You’at 22 Cale Street, Chelsea, just off the Kings Road. It later became Jane Asher’s Cake Shop. It later relocating to 420 King’s Road.  John was  a designer and a fabric locator Owner Michael Rainey  was an already recognised aristocrat amongst the ‘Chelsea set’. This was expanded upon when he got together with, and married, London socialite, Jane Ormsby-Gore. It didn’t take that long before the intimidating ‘Hung On You’ became the shop of the stars. Rainey himself recalls: “When The Beatles and The Who started to visit my boutique, I knew we’d made it.”

John Crittle decided to set up his own boutique, and started ‘Dandie Fashion’ at 161 Kings Road in October 1966.  He also managed to secure the ‘Foster and Tara’ clothing designers for the business. Tara Browne was a well-known socialite amongst the in-crowd – being the heir to the Guinness fortune. Tara was interested in making his own way in the world, and when he moved from Ireland to London he also fell in with the young and hip from the arts and entertainment worlds. His interest in men’s clothing led him to starting up his own tailoring company, ‘Foster and Tara’. Tara had many friends in rock and pop, including Brian Jones, John Lennon and Paul McCartney. It is said that Paul McCartney took his first LSD trip with Tara.

Tara Browne was killed in a car crash while on his way to meet the team of Dudley Edwards, Douglas Binder, and David Vaughan, to discuss the design for the shop front. Browne crashed his Lotus Elan into a van parked in Redcliffe Gardens, he swerved so that he took the impact rather than his girlfriend, Suki Potier. This incident will forever be immortalised in The Beatles’ song, ‘A Day In The Life’. Tara’s untimely death also inspired The Pretty Things’ song, ‘Death Of A Socialite’.

Tara Browne and wife Nicky, as photographed by Michael Cooper

After the death of Tara Browne, John Crittle kept Dandie Fashions going, and attracted the likes of Jimi Hendrix, Roger Daltrey and Brian Jones, who all often bought clothes there.

John Crittle was also friendly with the Beatles, and in May 1968, The Beatles went into partnership with Critte to form ‘Apple Tailoring’. The purpose of this shop was to offer the discerning male customer a bespoke service, rather than the ‘off-the-peg’ service that was available at the Baker Street location. As well as this bespoke service, the basement of 161 King’s Road became a hairdressing salon, which was run by Leslie Cavendish. Apple Tailoring lasted longer than the Baker Street boutique but it too closed its doors in 1968. Apple Corps decided to withdraw from High Street commerce and handed the business and all the stock over to John Crittle. Crittle’s daughter is Darcey Bussell, former prima ballerina with the Royal Ballet, and now judge on ‘Strictly Come Dancing’.

John Lennon outside Apple Tailoring

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Sgt Pepper on a London Beatles Walk!

Celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Release of Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band by coming on a Beatles walking tour of London. We have scheduled walks 5 days a week. See the former homes of John Lennon and Paul McCartney, where the Beatles played their last ever live performance, film sites for ‘A Hard Day’s Night’ and ‘Help!’ – and of course Abbey Road Studios and the world famous Abbey Road crossing.

For full details, see http://www.beatlesinlondon.com

‘A Splendid time is guaranteed for all’ (Toronto Globe and Mail)

‘One person who has been something of a flag waver for the Beatles London has been Richard Porter: whose passion and knowledge of the group are apparent from the moment you meet him. Richard opens up each building’s Beatles connection and history with vivid detail and anecdotal information. Without doubt, he is the authority concerning the group’s movements within the capital during the 1960s.’ – Beatles Monthly magazine.

 

 

Beatles Day Tripper in London 4th June!

Celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Beatles ‘Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’ album on a day of celebrations in London.

11 am: Beatles ‘Magical Mystery Tour’ walking tour – from outside exit one of Tottenham Court Road Underground Station. Abbey Road, 3 Savile Row, London Palladium, and more! Full Details at http://www.beatlesinlondon.com

3:00 PM Special Beatle Tour on a 60s London Routemaster Bus! Seeing Twickenham Film Studios, where the cover of Sgt Pepper was shot, Olympic Studios, and many others.

8:00 PM BEATLES 4EVER playing LIVE at One Kew Road, Richmond – the former Crawdaddy Club, home to the Rolling Stones!

Full details and tickets from https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/londons-swinging-60s-bus-tour-live-music-option-tickets-33953554997

Sgt Pepper Taxi’s In London

Promotion for the release of the 50th anniversary editions of Sgt Pepper is hotting up! A new fleet of taxis has appeared in London, advertising the new release, each coloured to match the costumes the Beatles wore on the album cover. Sgt Pepper will be in the shops on May 26th.

Sgt Pepper Taxis in London

London Beatles Walks on Polish Radio

On 31st May I will be interviewed on Polist Radio Station,  Polskie Radio Lublin about my London Beatles Walks and ‘Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’. It will be broadcast live at 9:00 am (UK time). Other people to be interviewed on the show include Beatles authors Philip Norman and Keith Badman. For more details on the station, and to listen online, see http://radio.lublin.pl/

For more on my London Beatles Walks see http://www.beatlesinlondon.com

 

Mark Lewisohn to Give Beatles Lecture in London

Mark Lewisohn, the world’s leading Beatles historian and author, is giving a lecture on the Beatles in Walthamstow, London, on Thursday 11th May.

Walthamstow Rock ‘n’ Roll Book Club invites YOU to bring along a Beatles or Beatles-related artefact which Mark Lewisohn will talk about for a timed five minutes, explaining the Beatles’ vast history through that specific prism. The item can be anything at all – a photo, a record, a document, a press cutting or magazine cover, a piece of memorabilia, a book – just grab any kind of souvenir that grabs you, and bring it along. Mark won’t know the items in advance and will illuminate them spontaneously, informatively and fascinatingly before moving on to the next.

For details, and tickets see https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-beatles-in-five-minute-bites-with-mark-lewisohn-tickets-32720102708

May 6th 2013 – The Quarrymen (With Special Guest!) Play in London

On May 6th 2013, John Lennon’s Original Quarrymen played at the St James’s Theatre in London. During the show a very special guest joined them onstage. No, not Paul McCartney – just your blogger, Richard Porter! Rod Davis asked if anyone could play washboard or tea chest bass, so I played the washboard, and Peter Nash of the British Beatles Fanclub played bass. We played ‘Puttin’ on the Style’, the old Lonnie Donegan song that the Quarrymen had also played at St Peter’s Church Fete in Woolton, Liverpool, the day that John Lennon met Paul McCartney for the first time.

It was a great honour being onstage with the Quarrymen, who are great guys. I’ve got no musical talent whatsoever, so it was really brave asking me up with them!

The Quarrymen, with Richard Porter on washboard!

Celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Sgt Pepper and the Summer of Love on a 60s Bus Tour of London

On June 4th 2017. This 3 hour, immersive guided tour on a vintage London bus is ideal for groups and individuals with a common interest in one of the most defining decades of 20th Century Britain. You’ll hear about the birth of popular music and the counterculture that spawned Swinging 60s London as you pass by the homes of notable music legends, historic locations and iconic music venues on your journey from the Hard Rock Cafe in Piccadilly, down the Kings Road in Chelsea to Richmond via West London’s ‘Cradle of Rock’.

This tour is guided by your blogger, Richard Porter :>)

THE HALF MOON Pub in Putney where live music has been played every night since 1963. OLYMPIC STUDIOS in Barnes which has featured more prominently in recording the world’s top bands and film scores than any other… Including Abbey Road!

We take in TWICKENHAM FILM STUDIOS where THE BEATLES filmed ‘HELP!’ and ‘A Hard Day’s Night’. You’ll see where ROD STEWART got his first break after visiting the Eel Pie Island Hotel to watch Long John Baldry. You’ll also hear about the artists who performed at the RICHMOND JAZZ & BLUES FESTIVAL and its ongoing legacy on your way to our drop off point at One Kew Road in Richmond, previously the fabled STATION HOTEL home to the original CRAWDADDY CLUB where THE ROLLING STONES kicked off their career on 24th February 1963 and where THE BEATLES came to watch the less than two months later.

The 60s hits we play on the original Routemaster London bus are by the seminal artists who performed at local venues… The Rolling Stones, Rod Stewart, The Beatles, Elton John, The Yardbirds, David Bowie, The Who, Cream, Pink Floyd, The Kinks, Manfred Mann, The Animals, Genesis, Long John Baldry, Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple Mott The Hoople and many more…

HOP ON IN RICHMOND OPTION

If you’d rather hop on at Richmond, simply choose that ticket option…

LIVE 60s MUSIC OPTION

For that total 60s experience why not include some live music by 60s tribute band BEATLES 4EVER playing LIVE at One Kew Road, Richmond from 8pm on SUN 04 JUN.

25% OFF YOUR FOOD AND DRINKS BILL

One Kew Road bar and restaurant have offered our online ticket holders and massive 25% off their food and drinks bill (when ordered together). Just show your tickets to the waiter when ordering. It is advisable to book your table beforehand 020 8940 5768

For more info, and tickets, see https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/londons-swinging-60s-bus-tour-live-music-option-tickets-33953554997

We will be doing many more tours and gigs throughout the year. For more info see http://www.60sbus.london